Fri, 01/29/2010 - 5:05pm — jasonwettstein
Country Cousins: An Exploration of Contemporary Frontier Myth at The Evergreen State College Gallery, February 8 - March 10, 2010
Artist lecture and reception, February 3
Howard Barlow, artist, curator of Country Cousins: An Exploration of Contemporary Frontier Myth, co-founder of Punch Gallery, Seattle
What and When:
• Artist Lecture, Lecture Hall 1, Wednesday February 3, 11:30 am.
• Opening reception with Howard Barlow, Evergreen Gallery, library 2204, Wednesday February 3, 5 - 7 pm.
• Exhibit “Country Cousins: An Exploration of Contemporary Frontier Myth” at The Evergreen State College Gallery, February 8 - March 10, 2010, Gallery Hours:
Monday & Tuesday, 11 am-5 pm, Wednesday & Thursday, 1 pm-5 pm
At The Evergreen State College, 2700 Evergreen Parkway NW, Olympia, WA, 98505
Directions to the campus can be found here: http://www.evergreen.edu/tour/gethere.htm
The myth of the frontier west has had a profound impact throughout U.S. history, influencing personal lives and public policy, beliefs, customs, values, actions. Though some myths have given way to factual observation, progress in democratization, and increased understanding, others linger into the 21st century. The artists included in this exhibition delve into those frontier myths, exploring continuums and contrasts among civilization and wilderness, familiarity and strangeness, fear and protection, chaos and order, the physicality of being and the intuition of spirituality, corporeal identity and instinctive desire.
The myth of the artist has also endured for centuries. Aspiring artists have gone to cultural centers for education and training, to study artworks of past generations and find a community of artists, and very importantly, for patronage. Stories of starving artists finding rundown urban areas in which they can live on the cheap and make art, where there are bars or coffeehouses where they can congregate to debate about art and life, have been prevalent since the nineteenth century. In the northwest since the 1970s, it has been the custom for young artists to move to New York or LA, and if not there then Seattle or Portland. The digital age that began changing the cultural landscape in the late twentieth century has had an enormous impact on these supposedly standard artistic paths. And in 2010, how much has this changed?
Four years ago, Howard Barlow, this exhibition’s curator and co-founder of Punch Gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, was sitting in the gallery when a prominent Seattle art critic came in. Impressed by the show, she inquired more about the gallery, its artists, and how the gallery functioned. Barlow explained that Punch was an artist-run gallery with members from around the region, but that the board, which ran the gallery, was from the east side. Barlow remembers her saying "Honey, if you say you’re from the east side around here, that means Bellevue…where you’re from [East of the Cascades] is the wilderness."