I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity for a solo exhibition at the Kent State University’s Trumbull campus. While I will be showing some original work, I want to offer something more participatory for those who attend the show. Consequently, much of the gallery will be dedicated to space for show attendees to create their own sketchbook artwork. Below is an artist’s statement which sums up the driving idea.
Many thanks to Professor Phillip Buntin of Kent State for inviting me to show in their gallery.
Artist’s Statement :: Portmanteau
“Portmanteau” has an interesting double meaning: in the original French a double-sided suitcase, later co-opted by Lewis Carroll to mean a word created by a blend of two morphemes. “Brunch” and “spork” are two favorite examples.
The inspiration for the show theme came from an interview I heard with Jonathan Safran Foer, the author of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. In the interview, Foer spoke about Vonnegut’s assertion that the reader performs the ultimate creative act in any work of fiction: no story is complete until it is read and imagined by a reader. I was struck by the fundamental truth of this idea and intrigued by how it might be applied in visual art.
That train of thought led me to the realization that most art exhibitions are largely one-way affairs. The artist shows and the viewers look. Granted, viewers bring their own interpretations to the experience, but the traditional show model wasn’t participatory enough. I hope instead to provide an active experience for those who come to Portmanteau, which in many senses will be co-created with them.
There are many levels on which the show is a mélange, and a portmanteau—whether a suitcase or a blended word—is a perfect metaphor. I see this show as a way to explore the relative roles of exhibitor and viewer, blurring the traditional lines of distinction between them.