Magicians don’t give away their secrets. But for a foursome of locally based artists and educators in a new exhibition at the Red Brick Center for the Arts, secret-sharing is the point.
Curated by Aspen artist Trace Nichols, “Art at the Intersection of Technology and Tradition: A Visual and Educational Examination” digs into and displays the artistic processes behind artwork by Nichols, Teresa Booth Brown, K. Rhynus Cesark and Andrew Roberts-Gray.
The exhibition opens to the public Thursday and runs through April 16. There will be no opening reception.
“Everyone always comes to art and says, ‘Well, how did you do that?’” Nichols, a longtime adjunct professor at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, said this week during a walkthrough of the show. “People are always interested in the behind-the-scenes. I was interested in doing a show that gives some of that, to look at the work and see how it was made.”
Along with selections of work from each of the artists who comment on process and technology in their work, the show includes elements like videos of the artists in process, information about how works were made and displays of art-making materials.
“We are all educators and involved in technology and expanding our mediums,” Nichols said, “but they are also interested in sharing that with others so that they can run with it.”
Nichols herself has created works using the old photo-mechanical Photogravure etching process, using recycled and environmentally friendly materials rather than the traditional toxic ones. She has selected antique photos from the Library of Congress that have overtones about personal choices in the age of climate change — for instance, a photo of a person in a doorway with the word “SOLAR” running vertically and “The Sky is Falling” running horizontally. In each of the photos, she’s replaced people’s heads with smiley and frowny face drawings.
Roberts-Gray, a Carbondale-based artist who also teaches at Colorado Mountain College, has made new works for the show from his ongoing “Processor” series, which links the history of computing with the tradition of Chinese landscape painting on sandblasted Plexiglass works. Along with a written explanation of his sandblasting process, the exhibition includes a video of him at work.
Cesark’s contribution includes sculptures made with the latest laser-cutting processes that investigate the uses of antique materials — a book, for instance, cut into the shape of a house and sealed shut with a weathered padlock.
Teresa Booth Brown, artist programs coordinator at the Aspen Art Museum, is showcasing collages from her “Neo-Quietism Project,” which are inspired by meditation practices. Her display includes eight-step instructions for meditations using the artworks.
“We talk about education and the artistic processes around things, but there is also this process of preparing yourself to view art,” Nichols said. “For Teresa, this body of work is about preparation and opening up so that you can get into abstract art.”