Monday, October 13, 2008

Town Hall Meeting May 1 -June 13, 2009

A group exhibition, view details here:

Jesse Bercowetz (KY) current news
Paul Brainard (PA) current news
David B. Frye (IN)
Ben Godward (IN)
Luisa Kazanas (MO)
Gwendolyn Skaggs (IN)
Jacqueline Skaggs (IN)
Chris Uphues (IL)
Doug Young (IL) current news

A Statement

I began investigating and creating installation art in 1995 while living in the Midwest, creating artworks in unused realty. In 2000 I moved to New York, and over the years I have adjusted to smaller works and photography to get me through the long period of time of adjusting to smaller live/work spaces and deciding where I wanted to call home. It was in 2006 when I founded Alcove, formerly nestled in New York's Chelsea art district (547 W. 27th st. 6th flr.). Alcove was a cozy alternative exhibition space (hallway, and yet again, unused real estate), where art came face to face with art, and the viewer. It was approximately 5’ wide x 20’ deep. I exhibited group shows with 2-3 artists whose work had no visual commonality. The exhibits where rhymes and sometimes riddles. They made perfect sense, nonsensically. I appreciated the tug and pull effect of the coupled works and at times- when a participating artist, or viewer, could not “see” my reasoning, I especially did. The space was an “ongoing installation”, for a year and a half. In April of 2008 I decided that Alcove did not have to be tethered to a lease. I could still conjure a mission, gather artists, and locate unused (for art purposes) real estate, without the monthly financial obligation and without borders. It is my shtick. It was in October of 2008 when the idea of a town hall meeting was conceived, over a cup of coffee with a fellow New York based artist who was also born and raised in the Midwest.

Town Hall Meeting is an exhibition of works by 9 artist who were born and/or raised in the Midwest and have migrated to New York for the sake of art. The premise of this gathering of works is rooted in process, not only through medium, but also through the constant ongoing procession of choices made to stay beholding to a dream and an ideal. The selection of artwork is nonpartisan to this fact. The artists are devoted to their intuitions, sensibilities, and concerns (or lack thereof); they are relentless and willful with their execution. They are diverse in media and vision, using the strength of subjectivity, suggestion & knowledge to their advantage. This town hall meeting is not a political arena. I do not want to burden the artwork or the artist's history with politics. The curation behind this forum neither embraces nor despises the stereotypes of Midwest America (or it's eastern edge), nor is there intent to unveil or measure ignorance or intellect amongst the dialogues of the works, the viewers, or it's critics (as politics can). My intent is only to bring these artists, along with their labors and diversities, to their roots.

Gwendolyn Charlene Skaggs

Many thanks to Robert Lebow of Midland Arts and Antiques for opening his doors, mind and heart to this exhibition and making it possible for us to bring our work to this forum. To Shannon Moody, of Midland, for her patience and assistance while coordinating this exhibition from afar, and to David Andrichik of the Chatter Box for his kind donation.

A special thanks to Prof. Steve Mannheimer for his essay Art for Our Home (introduction Town Hall Meeting, the book), whose thoughts and words were just as greatly appreciated when he was the art critic for Indianapolis.