Rose Colored Glass
Art Overlap — Viv Corringham uses words and materials to create layers of shared meaning.
One of the more curious offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street movement has been a small but vocal group of artist-activists intent on decrying the influence of money and the imbalance of power in the art world. These protest artists tend to dip their brushes in a big bucket of cynicism and use them to smear the brokers of artistic materialism in broad, angry strokes. Rose Colored Glass, an exhibition opening later this month at the Katherine E. Nash Gallery on the University of Minnesota’s West Bank campus, takes precisely the opposite approach.
“Right now in contemporary art there are a lot of pessimistic exhibitions,” says Ben Moren, who, along with Josh Ostraff, curated Rose Colored Glass. Some artists are using cynical putdowns to give themselves a veneer of highbrow, holier-than-thou credibility, says Moren. “We wanted to turn that on its head,” he says—by curating a show based on optimism. Instead of choosing art that is jaded and jaundiced, they selected work that focuses on the precious and possible.
The artists represented in the exhibition range from Native American painter Frank Big Bear to international video artist Oliver Laric. “We have people like Anthony Wanick, a recent MCAD grad, to Daniel Etock, who just showed at the Walker Art Center,” says Moren. In all, the exhibition features 13 established and emerging artists, all of whom embody or create a sense of optimism in their work.
For example, Laric’s two-channel videos of full submersion baptism—on the left screen, the plunge, on the right screen, the re-emergence—offer a vision of redemption and renewal. “[They] make you think of the incredible rituals that are so impactful in our lives,” says Moren.
Rose Colored Glass may not be concerned with your soul, but it does posit a sort of rebirth of the positive in the art that feeds it. And fighting the march of anger and contempt in the art world may be the most powerful protest of all. July 17–Aug. 11. Katherine E. Nash Gallery, U of M, 405 21st Ave. S., Mpls., 612-624-7530, nash.umn.edu