Monday, May 26, 2014

To Be Alone Together project launch

To Be Alone Together is an exhibition co-curated by artist Emma Jane Levitt and curator Shelly Leavens, through the Dana and Toni Ann Rust Curatorial Fellowship at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner, Washington. The exhibition uses the framework of pairing eleven contemporary Northwest artists with eleven works from the Museum of Northwest Art’s permanent collection. The contemporary artists will be asked to respond to a chosen piece in the collection and to create new work based on that response.

The primary goal of To Be Alone Together is to connect contemporary artists across disciplines with MoNA’s permanent collection in a way that creates a dialog with the past and leaves room for the unknown. The exhibition will look closely at the ways in which both the ephemeral and the tangible experiences of living in a particular place have and continue to influence communities of artists. The exhibit will explore the creative capacity of this legacy and its future by providing the opportunity for a multi-modal dialogue on our shared light, landscape, character and community.

Artworks chosen for To Be Alone Together from the MoNA collection were selected on the basis of three ideas: light, solitude and community, which the curators find to be prevailing themes in the philosophy and process of historical and contemporary Northwest artists. As opposing as the latter two themes are semantically, artists in the Northwest seek both in equal amounts. To Be Alone Together uses a cross-disciplinary approach to pairing the collection works and the contemporary artists because it allows for artists to experiment with a new approach if they so choose, and it develops the artist’s understanding of a disparate process. For example, a video artist may be paired with a Paul Horiuchi collage.

Like the vast tide flats and fields of the Skagit Valley and the meandering sloughs that run through them, there is an open willfulness to the Northwest artist community and a continuity in the iconic light of sky and water that seeps its way into artists’ work. To Be Alone Together will visually mimic this concept as well as provide a vehicle for contemporary artists willing to engage with the past. The project will be a path for artists to engage with community, yet take time in the studio or landscape to create new work and take risks.

Leading up to the project this blog will provide a publicly accessible platform for images, recorded stories and readings as the curators proceed with the project. Content will be generated from collections research, studio visits and community discussions of artists’ work.

The exhibition will open in October 2014. During the exhibition’s timeframe, a public presentation will take place at the Museum. An artist panel moderated by the curators will present on their experience working from pieces in the permanent collection.

The Museum of Northwest Art's second floor gallery, where To Be Alone Together will be on view in October 2014.