Gallery Talk: Wednesday, September 20, 6 pm
Please wear masks while in the gallery
Conceptualized by Sajeev Visweswaran
“[T]he notion of perfecting a work, bringing it to completion, was the goal at most times, but how could one know when the goal was reached, and what if the artist went too far?”
– Kelly Baum, et al, “Introduction: An Unfinished History of Art,” Unfinished
Elizabeth Barick Fall, Jennifer Belair, Boisali Biswas, Tuan H. Bui, Taurus Burns, Hannah Burr, Alison ByrnesRivett, Danqi Cai, John A. Copley, Judith Feist, Madhurima Ganguly, Jillian Hopper, Anurima Kumar, Toby Millman, Paloma Núñez-Regueiro, Mia Risberg, Mark Rivett, Sajal Sarkar, Ann Smith, Narooz Soliman, Nick Szydlo, Sebastian Varghese C, Sajeev Visweswaran, Tara Weinberg
The exhibition, “Incomplete” looks back to the experiences of artists during the COVID 19 pandemic. Many artists faced financial, emotional, and physical barriers to continuing their studio practice. For many artists, uncertainty is a fact of life, even under normal circumstances. The pandemic caused additional strain because it cut artists off from their community. Interaction with other artists, at shows, museums, and casual meetings, is a central part of the artist life. Artists faced barriers in doing their work, exhibiting work, and selling their work. Artists were also impacted by the emotional strain of life in a pandemic – worrying about family and friends, dealing with illness and loss, confronting a clash between the personal and the political when it comes to their views and values, and more.
For many artists, this was a transformative period. They may have switched their medium due to space or financial constraints, or they may have changed their practice because of where they were emotionally during this time. Many artists had to adjust to working in smaller spaces and with different restrictions on their time. As a result, they adopted new ways of presenting their visions. Many artists had to consider how their works would display digitally for the first time, as shows and galleries turned to virtual exhibitions.
This show combines visual and performing artists as a way of bringing together the artist community. It includes senior artists and recent graduates to bring together established artists with those just beginning their careers. It intentionally includes a variety of media. As a curator, I visited the artists’ studios and sought out preliminary drawings and works abandoned during the previous two years. My intention is to bring those works to a gallery space. I looked for works that had been abandoned, that they did not have a reason or motivation to complete. Some artists chose to work further on these works, and some of the works were left as they were. This raises a central question about how artists work – so often artists work toward a show or work toward a commission. This exhibition creates a space to show what artists have gone through, and to highlight works that there was no ‘reason’ to complete.
The pandemic is also incomplete, and even the ways and methods for measuring its completeness shift with each passing day and each new discovery. This exhibition explores how artists can build new communities and continue their practice in a time that has been defined by COVID-19, which may or may not, itself, have finished.
Image: Mia Risberg, The Conversation, Oil and pastels on paper, 8.25 in x 8.25 in, 2021