Sunday, October 4, 2009

Announcing the opening of:

Collective Clarity
(an interactive installation)
October 4 - 16, 2009

Conceived, designed and curated by:

Meredith Parker

Mahbobe Ghods
Isabel Hermann
Benjamin Tellie
Anna Lambert
Cathy DePasquale

The Reception will be on:
October 16th, 6-9 PM
and will feature musical guests:
Ideas Are Birds
(featuring members of Drifting in the Cinema, Gracefully, and the Goodbye Better Ensemble)

Macy Gallery
Teachers College
Columbia University
525 West 120th Street, NYC
(Between Amsterdam & Broadway)

Contributing Artists include:

Doug Beacom
Peter Cutul
Loyette David
Tudy David
Carlos Delgado
Cathy DePasquale
Jane Edmond Ballanof
Mahbobe Ghods
Nils Hasche
Isabel Hermann
Pamela Koehler
Anna Lambert
Emilie Lemakis
Paul McHale
Michelle Meged
Marne Meisel
Jose Muchaypina
Meredith Parker
Pamela Parker
Suzanne Parker
Afshaan Rahman
Rachelle Reichert
Rebecca Rudolph
Benjamin Tellie
Yoichiro Yoda

Collective Clarity

This exhibition responds to the vital need for an art that embraces all of our experiences. While there is an urgency felt among contemporary artists and educators that it is important to embrace multiple perspectives, there exists a striking contrast between the widely held pluralistic ideal and the reality of the day-to-day practices of educational and cultural institutions. Multiculturalism often devolves into a smattering of representative samples cherry-picked from a cross-section of cultures or acknowledgments that end up marginalizing more than fostering understanding. Museums and schools can benefit more from lucid, honest, democratic, and open-ended conversations across cultures. Here at Columbia Teachers College, this variety of dialogue is abundant, and was the original source of inspiration for Collective Clarity.

Last winter, printmaking professor Mahbobe Ghods and five students in the Art and Art Education department at Teachers College: Meredith Parker, Isabel Hermann, Benjamin Tellie, Anna Lambert, and Cathy DePasquale, all currently pre-service student teachers, began a conversation about how an empty outdoor courtyard space next to the printmaking studio might be transformed into a kinetic art piece. The natural evolution of the conversation led to an idea for an installation that would flap freely within the T.C. courtyard space. It was decided that the work would encompass a multiplicity of voices engaged in an ever-shifting visual conversation. Clear plastic shower curtain liners were chosen as the medium because of their weatherproof, wind-conductive and transparent qualities. The intention was to have every artist who participated in the effort have a voice that became something new, different and even more exciting within the context of the collective composition. While the location eventually had to be shifted from the exterior courtyard into the Macy Gallery, the basic format and goals remained intact and the project was reworked to fit within the new spatial constraints. An added benefit of the indoor gallery space was that it would allow for the interactive experience of walking into the artwork for an interior view.

Ultimately, Collective Clarity has become an installation that is formed from individual artworks created on a non-traditional and, at times, very challenging medium by twenty-six different artists from a wide array of backgrounds. This piece unmistakably demonstrates that the collaborative process cannot help but naturally create its own exquisitely diverse community. It is only through transparent discourse and from a range of vantage points that we can begin to see an overall image of the world with any sense of clarity.