Exhibit pushes a new direction to art

BY NARJES AL-BAKSHY — albakshyna@mnstate.edu 

From Nov. 24 to Dec. 18, The Roland Dille Center for the Arts Gallery will present SHIFTS, an exhibition featuring the works of visiting artists David Adams and Eleanor Richards.  The exhibition is a medley of shape and form, portrayed through photography and sculptures that are executed with a playful, innovative and out-of-the-box approach.

“The work included in this exhibit is a continually growing body of work that arrived out of a personal intention to do something unexpected,” Richards said.

Richardson’s background in creating objects, specifically sculptures, furniture and a combination of both, inspired her contribution to SHIFTS.

However, this project shifts away from traditional methods, taking on a fresh approach. “A shift in a patterned thought or habit can lead to unexpected things; this show is full of them,” she said.

Adams’ art portfolio heavily revolves around photographs of interesting physical objects. “When I made this work, I had no beginning or end goal. I wanted to create artworks,” Adams said. “With that said, I cannot get away from the ideas that interest me in photography: what makes a photograph and how can I continue to explore the boundaries of the medium?”

Adams’ photographs, which he perceives as physical objects, are created in a darkroom without the presence of light or camera.

The duo met during their Master of Fine Arts program at Arizona State University several years ago. Ever since, their fascination and appreciation of unique objects led them to collaborate on this project.

“We are both grounded in traditional processes and techniques for making work, but like to push the boundaries and break the rules by using traditions in not-so-traditional ways,” Richards said.

The pair adjusted their accustomed art techniques for one another to create a harmonious balance in the pieces featured in SHIFTS.  “Stylistically, the show will present a lot of funky geometry, raw material, and kitchy color with mythic creatures and stories emerging,” Richards said. “His monochromatic work urged me to strip some of the color away on some of my pieces.”

Simultaneously, Richards’ color-infused creations influence Adams. “I have always been inspired by the playfulness and freedom in her art,” Adams said. Adams’ and Richards’ distinctive styles complement one another to create a cohesive collection.

Lauren Kinney, gallery director, believes the gifted twosome will be a good fit for this year’s visiting artists exhibit. “I think SHIFTS will be especially beneficial,” Kinney said. “The artists have focused on play and experimentation; both practices that are essential to art-making and art education.”

The team responsible with the selection process, which includes the Art Department dean and faculty, believe the exhibit will be beneficial to the Fargo-Moorhead art scene. “We hope SHIFTS will facilitate opportunities for students, faculty, and the community to expand their knowledge of the arts by introducing new styles, techniques and ideas,” Kinney said.

“Honestly, it is hard, if not impossible, to know what any one visitor will take away from an exhibition,” Adams said. “Abstract art can evoke complicated intellectual and emotional responses, no less.”

A reception will be held at the gallery on Dec. 4, from 4 to 6 p.m. Adams and Richards will lead a discussion about their work as a part of the School of Visual Arts Colloquium series. Refreshments and beverages will be served.

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