Inside "The Real World”: Four Artists on Their Upcoming Exhibit
(Painting provided by Shaw Lenox ‘20)
This Friday, four students will head off campus to celebrate the opening of their exhibit, titled “The Real World,” on display for one night only. As part of an Arts Administration course offered at Skidmore, Lucy Beizer ‘19, Monica Hamilton ‘19, Shaw Lenox ‘20 and Amanda Peckler ‘20 — a fiber artist, photographer, painter and documentarian, respectively — are all in charge of creating the exhibit, which will be on display at 70 Beekman Street in Saratoga.
The class, called The Entrepreneurial Artist, taught by Professor Elizabeth Dubben, teaches aspiring artists how to market themselves and create their business. Over the semester, Professor Dubben has invited several speakers, including Arts Administration and International Affairs professor, Scott Mulligan, who spoke to the students about copywriting and patenting their work.
Together, the students decided to name the exhibit "The Real World," poking fun at many of the thoughts and concerns often shared about the future of artists in the real world. While the exhibit itself never explicitly discusses the artists’ attitudes towards the real world, each student is inherently engaging with the topic.
“When installing our work for this exhibit, we are responsible for getting everything ready, the gallery is not doing anything and not taking any commissions on anything,” explained Hamilton. “It’s all still driven through us. I think in real world gallery settings there’s a much more distant relationship between the artist and the gallery.”
Hamilton will be featuring images from a project she began over the summer and has since continued, which consists of photographing images of solidarity around America (most specifically the West coast). Hamilton embarked on the road, grabbing images of things that “not only stood out, but made [her] feel like she needed to take a picture of it” — often based on how she was existing in the space at that time. One of the images Hamilton will be showing is of two wheelbarrows sat outside a green house — something about their ability to invoke personality stood out to her.
Switching to fiber art, Beizer — almost mimicking the fabric used in her designs — has woven the act of creating dresses and the art of remembrance into one. Her installation is especially exciting because she will “be exhibiting some new dresses in addition to a dress from last year,” which seems to be a theme with each artist. Beizer pays close attention to sustainability when creating and has been experimenting with using vegetables to dye reused fabrics.
“The theme of my work right now is mostly passage of time and sustainability. I’ve been making work in an attempt to remember things from the past; this is present in my dream dress, on which I painted images from my dreams, things we often forget over time.”
The next student, Lenox, who is an abstract painter, is also showing a collection that’s been long in the making. Crediting famous impressionist painters like Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, as well as minimalist painters like Sol LeWitt and Ellsworth Kelly, as his influences, Lenox’s work is layered with whimsicality and bright colors. Lenox began the project last semester, so viewers can see the ways in which he has since evolved, from implementing bolder, more geometric shapes, to using more sweeping and circular brush strokes.
“My work is experimental in nature, so I never really know how something is going to look until it presents itself. It’s more about working with the paintings and finding out what they want to be. I work in my free time, too, so the work is from a place of wanting to create the work that I want to see.”
The final artist, Peckler, an aspiring multimedia artist, developer and editor, will be showing two pieces, titled “Sacred Flight” and “Neshama: The Jewess Soul.” The first is an audio piece that explores the topic of music thanatology (the music for end of life care) as told by Kieran Schnabel, a music thanatologist and harpist for the harpist hospice organization called SacredFlight in Portland, OR.
“Neshama,” a three-part work-in-progress, is meant to offer a deeply intimate and reflective space for Jewish women across different racial, ethnic, mixed heritage and Judaic backgrounds. It is also “a very healing, complicated and personal project” that Peckler took on at Skidmore. Peckler hopes to “continue to build upon for years to come. Because of this, the exhibit itself includes a space for individuals to leave their thoughts, feelings and feedback on notes they hang up for me.”
These artists occupy four strikingly different spheres of creation and creativity, resulting in a more enriching gallery visit. “The Real World,” only taking place on Dec. 7 with doors opening at 6 p.m., explores the overarching theme of personal narratives and the human experience, meditating on the intersection between art and the artists making it.