One of my most favorite past times is to visit art exhibitions, wherever I happen to be. As a creative, I look to others for inspiration on materials to use, ways to execute projects, or techniques to apply to my own work. Immersing myself in artwork reminds me that creative communities are everywhere. These interactions not only bring together this group of people, but also connect with those who admire and appreciate art.
SO NOW IF YOU’RE NOT A CREATIVE LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION, WHAT COULD YOU GET OUT OF IT?
Near the top of my list, is the Sioux City Art Center. Not only is it free, but they have some of the most thought-provoking exhibitions. I always walk away reflecting on ways to advance my work and to devote more time to creating.
Their Selects show had some of my favorite pieces to-date. This was the first show where each participating artist created a body of work to exhibit. The 8 selected artists are based in the Midwest and shared their visual stories through all mediums. From sculpture, to drawing, to painting, and to photography, it was curated to showcase an eclectic mix of work.
Jessica Teckemeyer was my “best-in-show” selection. Not only were her sculptures executed with every attention to detail, but her overarching theme of connections between humans and animals drew the viewer in. She created each sculpture to be as smooth as skin with glass eyes so as to make us see parts of ourselves in these animal forms. She brought the ideas of vulnerability, weakness, and the need to protect ourselves to life.
Jessica creates a discussion about our own animalistic behavior that we choose to ignore or conceal. She makes us acknowledge the parts of ourselves that we run from because of societal structures. As children we are taught to distinguish between dark and light, what is accepted and what is not normal. Her use of all black in the Reliance (Sinners and Saints) piece is a prime example of pushing against how we expect things to be – black and white. My initial reaction was why are they both black? But this was me bringing my own biases of how I was taught things should be in the world. As Kris and I discussed this, I realized her piece has little to do with color and everything to do with their dualities and interactions. By achieving this, she makes it a point to devoid gender or race in her subjects. This allows the viewer to peel back the layers of each sculpture instead of focusing on the facade.
Even though her pieces brought about discussion of racial associations, it made us take pause and unpack our thoughts on the issue. Instead of coming from a defensive place, I found myself asking the question, “Why am I viewing her piece in a racial light? And “How have my past experiences influenced my idea of race, artistically?”
Jessica makes us question the rules of society that have been ingrained in us and begin to focus on our own ideas of living. We all can be wild, but some of us embrace it more than others.
Take today to think about the societal rules and norms that feel like they don’t fit for you and how, like in Jessica’s work, you may be able to subvert them in order to reach deeper into your own essence.