New Paris Gibson Square exhibits peek inside the human condition
Three new exhibits at the Paris Gibson Square take a look at what it means to be a creative being and what about that has either changed or stayed the same throughout history.
Each exhibit, which you’ll be able to check out at the opening tonight, Tuesday, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., encourages visitors to feel or contemplate something centered on the human construct in starkly different ways.
Whereas “Build: Works by L.A. Hoffman” may make you look inward and feel introspective, Sukha Worob’s “Lost in the Crowd,” might make you look outward and feel social, even inviting you to participate by stamping the wall with one of the handcrafted wooden stamps he molded after people he’s met or known at one point in his life.
Finally, Kendra McKlosky’s “Giving up the Ghost” might make you take a nostalgic look at the landscape around us in Western Montana that connects both the small details to the larger picture, something Tracy Houck, executive director of the Square, said is the common thread of each exhibit.
“Part of me wants to say that … when you take a big look globally, we are all just part of the larger crowd and yet, with Lorie, L.A, she focuses back on individual items and brings attention to something that would normally get lost in the crowd,” she said.
A wall on the second floor of the Square already features a glob of stamps from people who have either helped set up the display or have came in to get a sneak peek.
There will be plenty of chances for people visiting to get in on the fun and stamp the wall, too, Houck said.
Worob’s exhibit also features two 11-foot-high inkish scribbles containing alphabet constructs.
While far away it might look to be jumbled nonsense, up close you see that each “scribble” actually is a piece of a letter, such as an “A” or a “C” or “E” and that put together patterns start to emerge that may or may not have been intended.
Last week we started to outline a face, which Hoffman, who attended grad school with Worob at Montana State University, said she credits to the mind’s ability to recognize patterns.
As for her own pieces, Hoffman said she’s looking forward to showing people the power people have when it comes to building things, be it small or large creations.
Her exhibit features 366 sketches broken up in three sections that she completed in her sketch-a-day project that she started in May of 2013.
After a full year of sketching something each day, she then took several of her favorites and made them into full-sized printed pictures.
The pictures each feature some of the buildings she sketched in both Montana and Seattle, where she moved halfway through last year.
That move prompted a change in her sketches, as well. She said whereas she started the project sketching mostly smaller things one might find inside a house, as she progressed, she said she started wanting to get out more and sketching things found around her neighborhood. The first act, made up of 122 days, features hand tools in front of a color background. Act 2 features tools in front of a cityscape that’s a mixture of color and black and white and the final act features buildings she encountered near her such as the Seattle Public Library and a host of others.
“(The sketches) reflect on where I was in my life at the time. I started the project just as I got done with grad school and I was heavily invested in the internal places in work,” she said. “I think you need to take time after grad school and get the other voices out of your head and start going back to basics. That loosed up somewhere in Act 2 when my husband and I moved to Seattle and when I’m moving into a new place, whether I want to or not, I have to be so externally focused because I’m learning so much about a new place and I have to be super aware of my surroundings.”
The tie that binds all of the sketches together, however, and the thing that she hopes visitors can take away from her works are that no matter the size, most all creations are still made by human hands.
“You see these zombie, post-apocalyptic movies and the power grid fails and we all revert to this incredibly uncivilized barbarism, but of course we wouldn’t do that, we have tools,” she said. “And my exhibit hopefully connects how even these large construction projects are still handmade. We have cranes to do the heavy lifting but there’s still a guy up there tightening the screws.”
Buildings oftentimes connect the past to the present, as well, and for McKlosky, she sees them as a key to better understanding our culture around us.
“The title of the show is ‘Giving Up the Ghost’ and we’re dealing with a lot of imagery of buildings or structures and landscapes that no longer exist that once were very predominant in Montana’s history,” she said. “A lot of the small works in the exhibit, especially the ones in the jars, are directly attributed to a smelter, a mill, a mine that existed in this part of Western Montana that no longer exists, hence the idea of the ghost.”
McKlosky, a Whitehall native, said she broke her exhibit down into three 20-piece collections, one featuring jars filled with tiny model buildings on top of portions of materials she collected from places around the state that was involved in copper mining.
The other room with her work features drawings of the landscape around her as she traveled across the country. She said she took a map and drew a single line starting on the West Coast and took a loop around the country to look at industrial sites across the country and how they differ from each other.
“It’s just a piece of a series, but basically each one piece are landscape maps from the direct line I drove using GPS technology,” she said. “Along the way I took meticulous notes about what the industry is, how the landscape changed (from the previous place) and how that landscape changed over time.”
Finally, Houck said if anyone has particular interest in nearly any of the pieces, they have the chance to take them home after the shows’ end. Hoffman, for example, will be selling each of her sketches individually.
Houck said that’s one big thing about having living artists participate in a show like this is that people are able to give back to the artists if they so choose.
“All three artists are up-and-coming and they’re really good at what they do,” Houck said. “So to have them showcase here at the Square gives them the opportunity to be at a contemporary museum at the heart of their backyard in Montana and at the same time we offer all of their work for sale so people can buy a piece of that and take it home with them.”