The School of Visual Arts' Edwin W. Zoller Gallery, along with the school's Painting Club is presenting Maker Marks. The exhibition, curated by visiting artists Alex Gingrow and Michael Scoggins, opens Monday, Feb. 29, and will be on display through Friday, March 4.
The artist curators will give a public talk about their work at noon on Tuesday, March 1, in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium in the Palmer Museum of Art.
Whether it is an attempt at transcendence, an homage to the practice of meditation or an effort to assuage one’s internal echoes and maladies, the practice of repetitive mark making in art carries both the weight of history and the suggestion of the sublime. The repetitive mark is performative in its essence and is a manifestation of the passage of time. Buddhist and Hindu practitioners have embraced this practice for centuries in the elaborate sand mandalas they create as a meditative act. They engage the hand in a repetitive motion so that the mind is free to wander. Similarly, the floors of Italian cathedrals and basilicas are often decorated with elaborate repetitive tile work, a mark meant to occupy the eye, satisfy the brain and encourage transcendence of the spirit.
In a world where time is increasingly of the essence, the artists in Maker Marks cultivate the passage of time as a medium. Similarly, the art world has in its own way become insistent and petulant in its demands for constant expediency; it is increasingly more and more concerned with rapid production, market value, investment potential and new work for the never-ending circus of art fairs. These artists are working in contradiction to these ever-rushing, fever-pitch trends. Their mediums are not only thread, color pencil, tape, pen and paper, but also time, endurance and discipline.
The work in Maker Marks is equally demanding of its viewers. It beckons the viewer to come closer, to inspect the intensive crafting, the mark of the artist’s touch. The works often defy photography in their subtlety, thus making it necessary to experience the art first hand. The work changes with every step of approach. It begs its viewer to wonder at the process, to imagine the time involved in the work’s creation. This is work that, unlike the large, flashy, loud images that populate the temporary walls of so many art fairs these days, is meant not for two-second selfies, but for contemplation, consideration and ultimately for empathy.