The Rotary Arts Centre Gallery will be hosting a juried exhibition called Slowly|Suddenly, which centers on the "fluidity and duality of growth". Please see the interview between student contributor Hannah Jenkins and curators Andrew Testa and Sydney Taylor.
This exhibition deals with "the fluidity and duality of growth", what does this theme mean to you? Can you give us an example of your exploration of the concept of growth in your past works?
Andrew and Sydney:
The theme came out of the current pandemic and a felt 'expectation' to grow and do things you didn't have time to do before. Although we did not make the exhibit about the pandemic, a lot of the thinking came through it. When it comes to growth, we wanted to call attention to non-linear growth, backwards growth, static growth, unconscious growth, etc. Growth is often something you only see and can reflect on after it happens, and it is often assumed that it is for the better. Growth that is fluid and seen in its duality hopes to capture slices of growth as it happens.
When it comes to examples of growth in our past work, I think it is fair to say everything and anything from our past can be seen as growth. It is things that we have developed upon and moved on from. For this exhibition we aren't concerned about our own artwork and its connection to growth but how artists in the Grenfell community relate to it—how artists think to visualize and call attention to their own growth.
The call for submissions mentions that any medium is accepted. Can you elaborate on what less-common mediums tend to look like? Specifically, what exactly is a performance piece, and have you encountered a unique medium in the past that has stuck out to you?
Art can be made from anything! I recently have gotten into the habit of using mediums one wouldn't consider to be under the niche of 'fine arts', such as makeup, natural elements and tea, its really about the medium fitting nicely with the subject and the artist's preference.
A wonderful example of a previous performance/participation-based piece from a past exhibition at the Tina Dolter Gallery titled, t/here, curated with Emily Critch, was a work by Drew Pardy. Here Drew invited folks to bring cherished and well-loved clothing items that were in need of repair. Drew then mended them throughout the exhibition (and a little before too) and displayed them in the gallery before the cherished and well-loved items were returned and used again.
Can you explain what the role of a curator is? What are some common challenges one may face in this position? Have you experienced any yet? If so, what were your solutions?
I don't consider myself a curator, but I am privileged to be in a position at the university that allows me the opportunity to bring our amazing student artists into the local gallery at the Rotary Arts Centre and to share their work with the vibrant local art scene. The curatorial role for me is then about: being able to speak to artists about their ideas, helping them realize them into artworks, bringing those artworks together in a space that has other artwork in it, seeing the artworks converse with one another, having space for artists to converse with one another and with the community they are a part of. It is about celebrating the local arts community, together.
I also do not consider myself a curator, more so a fellow artist taking advantage of the opportunities within the community to expand my knowledge, gain experience and make some great connections along the way. Working with fellow emerging artists it's quite enjoyable seeing a theme that you had one idea for be expanded upon and the growth (no pun intended.. haha) through other artists' visions.
Andrew and Sydney:
The biggest challenge for us is our current pandemic: how do we hold on to a sense of meaningful dialogue and community engagement when numbers become restricted and things go online? Currently, this exhibition is planned to be installed in person, but receptions and gatherings are still unknown (and too far away to make a call for). The plan for us is to go full steam ahead with the exhibit and provide an opportunity to celebrate the artists works; it's hard to say what a solution beyond that would be.