May 20, 2008
“A metaphor is an image that suggests something else.” — Joseph Campbell, POWER OF MYTH: interview series with Bill Moyers, 1988
Metaphor Minds: sculptures and drawings that re-contextualize objects, animals, and the figure now showing at the Julian Scott Memorial Gallery of Johnson State College (May 20 - June 20, 2008) features the artwork of six contemporary artists using recognizable imagery. Their work goes beyond words to a visual realm of connotations. Birds, snakes, and rivers; airplanes, pots, and kettles; dysfunctional furniture and thriving wildlife all are used by these artists to introduce the intangible realm of feeling, thought, and perception. This world uses what according to Joseph Campbell has the ability to go “beyond … the concept of reality [to] that which transcends all thought” and gives individuals a direct line “to connect with that mystery which [they] are” (POWER OF MYTH ,1988); this is the realm of metaphor.
The six artists featured in this exhibition were selected for their ability to express the “mystery of their inner Self” through their work not analytically but through internal, pre-conscious, image-oriented forms. Their way of thinking uses elements of the visual world to activate new meanings.
Sachiko Akiyama lives and works in the Boston area. Her self portraits, carvings of birds and collages are part of several private collections and permanent ones including the DeCordova Museum.
Angelo Arnold currently lives in Johnson VT, has received awards for teaching, professional development, and is the sculpture coordinator at the Vermont Studio Center. His work with upholstery and form de-constructs and re-constructs furniture to create unique sculptural compositions.
Gowri Savoor, originally from England and the recipient of professional development British Arts Council Awards, also works at the Vermont Studio Center. Her ink drawings combine feather covered body-fragments, personal poses and ornithology to create a world of flight, growth, birth and re-birth.
Denis Versweyveld of Vergennes, VT is the recipient of three Vermont Arts Council awards. He unites surface texture with light and color to alter our perception of that which is recognizable. Through his re-contextualization of early 20th Century era kettles and pans, he creates metaphors for a spiritual life as his artist statement reveals.
New York City artist, Gerard Haggerty, teaches at Brooklyn College, City University of New York (CUNY), is a former instructor at Chautauqua and the recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Awards. His works on paper playfully invite the enthusiasm of boyhood joy over flying toy airplanes while conjuring a female presence: seductive, seemingly omniscient, ominous, and powerful.
Ed Smith, also of New York, is a Guggenheim Fellow, National Endowment for the Arts recipient, lecturer, and artist. His small works in bronze use feet, knees, and ankles to conger “journey” while snakes reference ancient Greek Friezes and a mythological world of fear, mystery, and the Unknown.
Based on the artists’ abstractions, re-contextualization and juxtaposition, viewers are invited to their own interpretations. Perhaps they reveal universal truths, feelings and comprehensions. How do symbols unfold a psychological narrative or internal landscape? How do these metaphors develop a greater understanding of our passions, emotions, and interpretations?
Leila Bandar, Julian Scott Memorial Gallery Director says of the exhibit: “I hope the work may inspire excavation of our personal symbols, mascots, objects, and combinations thereof.”
A reception for this exhibit will be held in the Gallery on May 30, from 4-5 p.m. All are welcome to attend.