Spread is currently showing at the SOMArts Cultural Center. The posts to follow are first impressions and reflections about each pair of artists in the exhibition.
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An artist’s work is almost always derived from a mentor’s guidance or influence. An integral part of the professor’s role is to push the student to their limits; to test the student’s mental agility, intellectual stamina, and help nascent ideas bud into something greater than the student ever imagined. In the exhibition, Spread: California Conceptualism – Then & Now, the viewer sees five pairings – a vanguard artist and their student. Such an exhibition reminds the audience that each artist carries on the legacy of their teacher (even if their path is divergent).
While Sharon Grace’s single channel video of marbles bouncing off a hardwood floor while an individual in high heels walks ever so slowly across a wood floor; Carissa Potter’s work, I’m Attracted to You, is on the other side of the wall. Although both artists utilize different mediums, the commonality is their perspective on human interaction and behavior. Relationships between people and things is prevalent in their works. Even with Grace’s time based media, you interact with it the way you want, which is not too dissimilar to Potter’s work. There doesn’t seem to be an obligation to dig deep to find a particular meaning. You’re given a concept or idea of something (an experience) and you take it for what it is in a moment.
The key difference is the use of language as a device. Words are much more rampant in Potter’s work. Much of the complex ideas riddled within our minds are laid in a combination of text and images. Grace’s work, on the other hand, in particular, for the show, barely includes any text until you look at the deconstructed drawing of the box that holds a heap of marbles. In researching Grace’s work, language is verbally expressed versus written. Either way, the pairing, at first, may seem a bit enigmatic but if you watch and read, keep in mind your behavior and responses to the works.