Opening reception: "I Think We Are Making Progress"

New work from Lawrence, Kansas City & Topeka

Wonder Fair: Art Gallery & How!

The salon style show features 25 artist from Lawrence, Topeka and Kansas City. Musical sets by Fortuning, ET&T and, Bear Bar BBQ Club, spoken word by Artist as Wizard, Aaron Storck. Check out a podcast preview of the show.

Participating artists in the show:

Jason Barr, Chris Bostwick, Thayer Bray, Alicia Kelly Carr, Maria Calderon, Kelly Clark, Christa Dalien, George Demoura, Eric Dobbins, Tim Dwyer, Barrett Emke, Danny Gibson, Amber Hansen, Andrew Huffman, Hannah Hurrle, Amy Kligman, Kenneth Kupfer, Bri Lauterbach, Justin Marable, Sammy Owen, Jess Owings, Estrella Payton, Lee Piechocki, Brock Potucek, Chris Rexroad, Clinton Ricketts, Aaron Storck, and Bernadette Zacharias.

Exhibition Essay: "I Think We Are Making Progress" by Alaska Noyes
This title exudes optimism but with a tinge of skepticism. It offers the possibility of forward movement but with a little self-doubt. In this title there is a desire, but also an uneasiness to fully commit to the belief that we are indeed making progress. Maybe this is because progress implies linearity - a destination, a place, moment, or mindset that we can progress to. But really, where are we going, where do we want to be?

Eric Dobbins, co-curator of this show, asked me if I would be willing to write an essay of sorts – something to get the ball rolling, to help figure out what this show was going to be. A title had not been declared yet and this seemed like a logical place to start. We batted around potential titles through email correspondence, starting off the top of our heads with no clear direction in mind. The first few titles were absolutely wrong, but as we continued to email back and forth they began to materialize into something that could work. I wrote Eric back in an encouraging tone, “I think we are making progress.” And that was it. Looking back on it I am not sure if we were in fact progressing – we had gone from Hangin At The Park to Introducing: Tiger Baby? This, at best dubious progression and its culminating aha moment, seemed to be an accurate reflection of the art making process itself.

Art is notoriously subjective, occupying a facet of our culture that is constantly in flux. The very definition of art continuously being pushed and pulled by internal and external forces – history, theory, economics, politics, philosophy, sociology, etc. Part of the very fabric of contemporary art is a self-reflexivity, the desire to question and deconstruct its own meaning and purpose. Artists and theorists have worked hard over the last hundred years to blow the field wide open. Anything can be art and everything has been done. We are at a point where it is very difficult to gauge anything – what is good and what is bad, what is progression what is regression.

So we make stuff and put it out there in this vast expanse. We work off the top of our heads, from hunches and whims. We grab on to threads of art history and theory that seem to make sense to us and let them pull us along. We collect bits of pop culture, science, technology, politics and other such detritus along the way. We push this through the filter of our own personal history, quirks, fears, ethics and proclivities. And we make stuff. We take little baby-steps to… somewhere, and maybe we progress, although maybe not. It’s the journey and not the destination anyway, right?

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