A new exhibit is open at the Jewish Community Center Patio Gallery featuring an art exchange between established and emerging local artists. The show is called Pairallels – emphasis on the pair.
Curator Stacey Reason asked members of the Artists’ Breakfast Group, a group of Louisville artists who have been working together for nearly twenty years, to begin a piece of art that focuses on global and local perspectives. Members of the Louisville Artists Syndicate, a group of younger visual artists, did the same. The exhibit includes sculpture, collage, paintings and mixed media work.
When the pieces were half-finished, they were passed to a member of the opposite group to be finished. The artists didn’t collaborate directly with one another. Reason, who works with the Artists Syndicate, says she created the art exchange to cultivate dialog between the two groups of artists.
“The surprise element of the anonymous factor created some really interesting dynamic presentations in the artwork itself,” says Reason. “I paired the artists in ways that I felt could create an interesting conversation. Sometimes it was based on materials, sometimes it was based on content, sometimes it was based on the individual artists.”
Linda Erzinger, a member of the Breakfast Artists Group, began a collage on plexiglass, which Reason then passed to Brandon Harder, a recent University of Louisville graduate working in a studio in the Portland neighborhood, to finish. Erzinger says collaborative projects like Pairallels introduce an element of surprise.
“I’ve been working on plexiglass for a long time, but I’ve never engraved it. So I’m very curious to talk to the artist about his engraving process and maybe incorporating that into my work later,” says Erzinger. “That’s one of the things I like about doing an exchange. You get to present your typical material that you always work with, and you get a totally new perspective on how to use it.”
When did Erzinger know when her piece was ready to hand off? It’s part intuition, part finding a good place to get stuck.
“You just kind of know as an artist,” she says. “I got to the end of my imagery and I thought, I don’t know what to do next. If it were me in the studio working on that and getting to that ‘I don’t know what to do’ phase, I might have just gone to bed and worked on it the next day. In this application I got to hand it off to someone else.”
Even Reason, who had specific reasons for pairing Harder with Erzinger, was surprised by the final piece.
“I immediately loved it because it’s very graphic. It’s almost ominous, in the haziness of the plexiglass,” she says. “The artist I gave it to uses a lot of raw materials. I was very interested in giving him something that’s plastic, a very malleable material, when he’s used to working with metal or wood.”
Artists who contributed to Pairallels are Brandon Bass, Andy Cozzens, Sarah Duncan, Mallorie Embry, Linda Erzinger, Meghan Greenwell, Brandon Harder, Phillip High, Mary Dennis Kannapell, Shohei Katayama, Keith Kleespies, Sally Labaugh, Kathy Loomis, Kacie Miller, Karisssa Moll, Jacque Parsley, CJ Pressma, Kelly Rains, Lelia Rechtin, Alli Wiles, Jenny Zeller and Suzi Zimmerer
Pairallels is open through July 16. The next show opening at the JCC Patio Gallery is “Hanging By a Thread: the Life and Contemporary Art of Adrienne Sloane.”