This past week the Samek was humming with activity as we took down our previous exhibitions, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’s “Blacklist” and Myra Greene’s “Self-Portraits”, and installed the two new shows, the International Collage Center‘s “Remix:Selections from the International Collage Center” and “Freehand: an exhibition of artwork created by Pennsylvania prisoners” and curated by Shawna Meiser.
For me it was amazing to install the show of art by prisoners. I was overcome by waves of realizations and awe. I had never realized that prisoners were allowed to make art from bronze sheets, to carve elaborate frames, or construct decorative clocks. I was in awe of the delicacy of the drawings and their skill with photo-realistic representation.
But soon after I came down from my prison art high I got to dive into a mountain of collage, and that is a very close to accurate statement. We received and unwrapped over 100 works of art. Every second as I walked through the gallery to grab a tool or move a ladder I caught my eye on a new collage that I hadn’t yet seen. All day as we laid out the show, with the co-curators, Founder & Artistic Director, Pavel Zoubok and, Director Rachael Lawe, I could hardly fathom the amount of art that we were cramming into this gallery. (click for more photos!)
While it is not exactly as chock full of art as a salon show of the past it is just as overwhelming, given that these works of art are super condensed images made up of many many other images. I love the fact that I can and am forced to spend time with each work in order to actually see it. It is impossible to glaze over these works because they have so much visual information. Your eyes want to stop and examine in order to realize what the work is made from and how it was done.
Hanging these shows was an amazing experience. I had unpacked, hung, and lit that much art. It was amazing to work with Pavel and Rachel, to hear stories about the artists included in the exhibition and about their plans for the ICC. I am so excited to be working around this exhibition for the rest of the semester. I am sure I will never get tired with it because every time I walk through the gallery I know I will see something I hadn’t seen before.