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Curator's Statement: SPARK! Members Exhibit 2019

SPARK! Curator's Statement, by Ann Hirsch and Jeremy Angier:


For at least 70,000 years humans have expressed themselves using color, line and shape. Though the media have changed over the millennia - flaming torches and ground earth have given way to electric spotlights and polymer paint formulations - the works in this exhibition still rely on the same essential elements of color, line and shape to give voice to our dreams and memories, vocabulary for our thoughts and ideas, and ignition to spark our imaginations.

As collaborative artists and arts educators, we are continually struck by the incredible range of expressive potential accessible to us all with today's materials and processes. From wool felt collage to tile mosaic, from ink drawing to jeweled construction, from traditional media like watercolor to contemporary digital photography, each piece in this exhibition can stand alone as a testament to individual expression. Taken as a whole, the collection of work in SPARK! presents a diverse tapestry of the enduring creative spark and reflects the myriad ways ACA nourishes our community.

In curating this show, we grouped works together by color, line or shape, sometimes relating all three elements and sometimes just one, and often taking into consideration the mood or theme of a piece.

We would like to mention some of the works which provided anchors for the arrangement in the galleries. Chris LeGare's wall-mounted sculpture “Units” uses solid pastel colors in a bold minimalist composition, related to nearby works through color, contrast and linear geometric shape. Lorraine Sullivan's collage "Letters Home" also uses a pastel palette, yet grey tones and delicate linear elements such as string and torn paper evoke a sense of fragility and nostalgia. The adjacent works similarly use color, line and subject matter for ostensibly nostalgic effect. The richly layered encaustic painting "Winter Trees 2" by Christina Hagg elicits a somber, reflective mood using a limited palette and by enclosing an expansive landscape within the intimate square of the frame. This small panel, along with its pair, creates punctuation among and between the larger works on this wall. Linda O'Connor's oil pastel of a woodland house “Jack’s Farm” uses intense color and cropped composition to compress space within a heavy dark frame. Works of a similar size, shape and intensity hang nearby without any one painting dominating. Phil Young's energetic directional brushwork and tightly controlled palette in “Field at West Hill” suggest abstract landscape and fleeting spatial perspective. This painting forms a bright focus which then leads your eye to neighboring paintings with similar palettes, and beyond through the works of the 50 artists in this largest show ever mounted at ACA.

We hope you will enjoy this explosion of color, line and shape as much as we did while curating the show, by seeing each piece on its own terms as well as within the context of the common spark that keeps us all coming back to ACA.

We would like to thank Arlington Center for the Arts for the opportunity to curate this exhibition. We are grateful to everyone on the staff, especially Sarah Buyer, Linda Shoemaker and Pam Shanley, for their input and support.

Jeremy Angier and Ann Hirsch
A+J Art+Design

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