I apologize for last week’s Exhibition Hopping post being up only just now. At the core of it, when I want to write something that’s a mental exercise, and about how I feel, I tend to have a harder time getting it written.
Posts like You Won’t Always Have This: On Hayao Miyazaki’s Retirement, eatsleepdraw feature and thoughts on an “Art Style” and writings about both the cereal box animation, and the Many Men 2D animation (both of which are yet to be written and published) have suffered the same fate.
Last weekend I went to the opening reception of artists Tara McPherson, Adam Wallacavage, and Masakatsu Sashie at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. Before being notified about this reception via email, my plan for the week was to see Hans van Meeuwen’s Sense exhibition at the Mixed Greens Gallery (This is actually this week’s Exhibition Hopping Post).
For a brief period I couldn’t decide which one I’d go to. But, that’s totally a lie. I would be going to the Jonathan LeVine Gallery. I’d already experienced Mixed Greens during Leah Tinari’s exhibition in the summer, I knew what kind of space to expect. I’d always wanted to go to the Jonathan Levine Gallery and an opening reception was something both on my list to go to and scared me. I put it on my list when I started considering what I wanted as an artist and how to get it. I want to be a part of a community of artists, to attend workshops and events, and to have friends who are artists because I don’t do those things and I don’t have that. But, the idea of being at an event where people are strangers to me but are most likely not to each other because they are a community, scares me. I’ve gone to so many places alone, that in of itself is not what’s scary, but rather I think the expectation at events that are more social that you’ll know someone there, you’re expected to know some people is what is scary for this lone traveler. This reception felt like the perfect opportunity to find out what a reception looks like and what I was afraid of.
So, I knew that if I didn’t go the reason was avoidance and fear. Any other reason I told myself would be a lie when what I really felt was always known right behind it. There are so many experiences and plans and desires that I’ve been nervous and scared about and so many excuses I’ve taken that said to do it another day when a moment came in front of me. This isn’t a post about me raging that the 19th was that day when I finally took the moment in front of me! But in a way it is. It’s built on all the little moments of my life where I dared myself week after week to do something I was scared of. So, mentally, it had been a long time coming because when I first made going to an art reception a goal of mine sometime in the summer, I was terrified just imagining what I’d see. I was still nervous on Saturday but I wasn’t Summer nervous. That me would be hyperventilating, sweating for reasons other than the walk I took from 6th ave to 10th ave, (don’t judge me, I didn’t know a bus ran from there to 6th ave until after I left and needed to go back down to 6th), I would’ve thought everyone was noticing me, and I’d want to leave almost right away. All Summer me could think about was: I’d be going alone, I’d have no one to talk to, I don’t want to stand there awkwardly, what if people I walked up to turned away, what if everyone else came with someone else, what if I got shut down or given the side eye when I tried to get in on a conversation some people were having.
And I could feel those thoughts on Saturday try to rear their head into my mind but they weren’t loud and they weren’t incessant and that was different.
When I got there, we (others also heading to the reception) got on the elevator and the doors opened at a stop that wasn’t ours and what I heard and saw was like a taste of what I’d see. As the people at that stop came in to go up with us, I smelled alcohol and the voices of a party of people, and I got nervous. I started to feel like I didn’t belong, that I couldn’t face this.
When our stop opened, there was so many people, so many. I felt like I was at a party, the kind where you’re squeezing past people and trying to find a space for yourself (You can probably tell at this point that I go in to parties with a “this will not be fun” mindset, especially when it’s only strangers).
I’ll stop you right now. This isn’t a post about me saying “And then I had an Ahh-MAZING time! I could NOT believe all the fun I unexpectedly had! Look what happened I conquered my fear. There was nothing to worry about.”
I felt calm, which I’ve been feeling more of in situations that used to just make me uneasy, but I know that’s not the end of the line for me. Like parties, I’m still not having the experience, the freedom inside to just be and have fun. The simple fact is I avoided talking to anyone (except this one guy that was pretty alright), avoided eye contact while I navigated the rooms and I got to enjoy looking at great art. I was floored especially by Masakatsu Sashie.
What I’ve learned through my little decisions of courage is that giving myself the physical experience isn’t enough. It doesn’t fulfill it for me emotionally. Giving myself the whole picture of what I’m looking for in an experience will.
Each artist is being written about in the order I saw them. I’m not familiar with any of their work, the guy I said I spoke to? He says he’s a big fan of Tara McPherson. Her work isn’t fuzzy, she makes sure to define her lines in her oils, which as you know, I enjoy in an oil painting.
Tara I believe, is the only of the three to show work in more than one material. The gallery also had a section dedicated to her drawings. Some of them were the same as the images in her paintings.
Her work is very stylized and ethereal, I feel like I’m looking into a world where its species look like this and they aren’t morally good or bad, good or evil, they just are. And Tara has such an impressive ability to smoothly create gradient in her paintings that’s on par to a digital effect. I was constantly stunned to find that it was paint. I found her work really showed both how patient she is and the amount of time she puts into her work and it creates a strong product.
In another part of the gallery at quick summation it looked to me like a design take on hanging chandeliers, as the room was lit by them. I found out this was the room for Adam Wallacavage’s work.
Honestly, this whole post is gonna be about how impressed I was with everything but I’m gonna try to use other words to express why I felt the way the way I did.
It’s clear that Wallacavage is using found objects in his pieces. It’s also clear he’s very smart and knows how to craftily create a piece and manipulate it to his vision. They feel like both a work of art and one of a kind. Plus, they’re usable.
Even though you’re seeing conjoined materials, or things that are traditionally used to be scary in art such as the octopus tentacles, the creepy species in a lamp not shown, they aren’t scary here. Some of his pieces have a humor to them, a light tone and all of them show a great choice in color.
When I walked into Masakatsu’s room, I felt like I was walking into an entirely different gallery. First of all, the walls weren’t dark and everything was brightly lit.
He is by far my favorite artist of the night and in my mental catalog. There is just so much I’m learning from his work. So much that I want to learn. The effortless way he creates light both glaring and colored light that is reflected on objects, his smokes and rust. It’s all mesmerizing and what I’m just happy to look at without looking to learn really are how detailed and realistic he gets with each object. I love his work. I just love it.
And then it was time to go. It was 8:30, the reception would be closing in thirty minutes and the time was nearing to go back to 6th ave to pick up my work at Bourbon Coffee. When I left and was at the end of the street waiting for the light to let me cross, I knew I didn’t want to continue depending on tomorrow’s experience of the same experience I’m having right now for me to finally give myself the experience I wanted then. That’s all. I’ve got to fight for it. That’s all.
I hope you understand this post. I understand that people like to read what’s uplifting and presents a solution. But, I’m just telling it like it is.
(I had planned to put up this week’s Exhibition Hopping post after this one and make it a trifecta of posts for your viewing pleasure but it’s 10 mins to midnight and I’ve not written any of it which means it’ll be up this week.)