Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Watermedia Wizards

Watermedia Wizards, part 1
(confessions of a curator)
By Tom Wachunas

Since becoming curator of Gallery 6000 last year, I have been guilty of the first cardinal sin of curating: hanging overcrowded shows. The current show, “Watermedia Wizards,” is my fourth, and no exception to my sinful ways. In my shaky defense, I plead unabashed enthusiasm for the artists I choose, the fact that Gallery 6000 is not a typical white-walled art gallery, and my failure to remember (despite my ardent resolve to do better next time around) the physical dimensions and limitations of the space. Or is it just outright denial?

Anyway, Gallery 6000, located in the Kent Stark Professional Education and Conference Center, is not really an art gallery at all. It’s a dining room. Granted, it’s an exquisitely appointed space fitted with a clever and unobtrusive system for exhibiting framed art with state-of-the-art track lighting, but a dining room all the same. As such it accommodates thousands of people annually, hailing from many locations, who attend all manner of seminars, corporate meetings, and conferences. I dare say that most of those people could not be categorized as serious art collectors, aficionados, or even casual gallery-goers. Still, popular response to the art in the dining room has been positive and very supportive. And several works, much to the delight of the artists, have been purchased.

Paintings in an exhibit need breathing room so they can “speak” not just to each other, but to the viewer as well. Stuffing a room with too many paintings stifles their individual impact and makes the space throb with too much competing visual information. I favor a harmonious “less-is-more” ensemble over visual cacophony, no matter how well cadenced. The 28 works gathered for this exhibit would very likely have been better served by hanging 6 or 7 fewer pieces. Fewer pieces, more peace.

Having said all that, I nonetheless firmly believe that these 28 works make a joyful noise indeed, and one worth the time it takes to perceive the many sweet melodies woven throughout. For my review of the show, look here for part 2 in the very near future. Meanwhile, come to the opening reception to view the work and meet the 6 artists on Monday, April 13 at 5:30p.m. Please RSVP to Becky DeHart at (330) 244 – 3518 or rdehart@kent.edu


Unknown said...

Nice to read your review, and thank you so much for being the curator. I can't wait to see the latest installment!


Free Rein Art Studio said...

I hope at some point you decide to post photos on your blog as well. I wish I had a sneak peak!!