How to become lost
Featuring the art of Sayge Carroll, Meg Murphy, Lamar Peterson, Jacob Aaron Schroeder, and Maggie Thompson
Curated by Leslie Barlow
February 21 – April 20, 2019
Thursday, February 21
Discussion with the Artists Thursday, April 4
5:30 pm Social, 6:00 pm Conversation
How to become lost is an exploration into the ways artists escape into the content and method of their work as a means to process, heal, and liberate–and to get closer to a truth about life in ways that cannot necessarily be seen or framed through ordinary language or experience. This exhibition invites you to be transported into the complexity and humanity of each artists’ work and world, but also poses the question of why and what motivates someone to create: asking viewers to consider the tensions of making work in a painful, traumatic, accelerated and angering climate while holding desire for artwork to be slow, pleasurable, and meaningful. Is this process futile? Are we allowed to enjoy our work? What privileges come with escapism? How important is it, or detrimental? How do we reclaim our space, our work, our joy?
Pleasure as resistance, artistic process as healing, creation of an alternate reality. To escape is to slip or get away from control and restraint, to gain or regain liberty. It can also be a withdrawal, an avoidance, desertion, but perhaps through this flight, a rescue. Each artist in this exhibition reflects on how escapism permeates the layers of their work–their choices and methodology greatly informed by their personal experiences and identities. Sayge Carroll employs her art to soothe and calm when words have failed and articulation falls short. Photos serve as proof or record, clay acts as grounding and honoring, painting as exploration of what is not known, as she investigates themes of identity, ritual, and motherhood. Meg Murphy creates fantasy worlds in her paintings where the womxn are so big, such giantesses, that nothing can hurt them anymore. Her womxn are central characters in their own stories where they take up as much space as they want–and they eat, and eat, and grow exponentially powerful.
The sugar candy colors and cartoon-like surrealism of Lamar Peterson’s paintings create a humorous, nostalgic, awkward, and unsettling environment for his characters. Deconstructing themes drawn from popular culture, race, and the ideal of the American dream, the paintings are a collection of vignettes telescoping on banal experiences which, upon closer inspection, present unexpected delight and danger on human pathways. Through the meditative and labor-intensive processes of manipulating textiles through hand-stitching, burning, and bedazzling, Jacob Aaron Schroeder uses the aesthetic qualities of gender-associated objects to expose the internal conflicts queer men experience. The works in this exhibition demonstrate not only self-investigation and catharsis, but also a means of our current societal understanding of queer mental health. Maggie Thompson desires to memorialize “lost” relationships by creating abstract mixed media textile pieces based on memories. The ending of a long-term romantic partnership, and recent deaths of her father and best friend drew her to reflect on how grief becomes sewn into a person’s evolving identity. Using her artistic process to work through grief and depression, she explores ideas of self-worth, stability, preservation, and the complexities of human relationships.