About a year ago, Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft Curator Joey Yates began thinking about words associated with the word “eclipse.”
“So we took the word ‘eclipse’ and just looked at all it’s allied terms,” Yates says. “Things like erasure — just like when sunlight is blocked by the moon, it’s almost erased for a second — or covering, or masking. These are all terms that artists can also engage in physically.”
Like covering a canvas with paint, for example.
These terms offered some guiding points in choosing art for KMAC’s upcoming “Victory over the Sun,” an exhibition that will be opened next week leading up to the “Great American Eclipse of 2017,” which takes place August 21.
Some of the work, like Barbara Takenaga’s “Wine Dark with Star” — a beautiful, sprawling swirl of constellations — takes the celestial theme a little more literally.
But others, as Yates explains, offer a more poetic interpretation. There’s Bethany Collins’ work which deals with erasure.
“She takes old dictionaries and she goes through and erases — in the three that we’ll have — definitions that involve words about color,” Yates says. “In one she erases all terms of black and blue, another one it is all color terms, and another one that is just definition that have the word ‘white’ in them.”
According to Yates, this is Collins’ commentary on how the use of language has become one of the most contested aspects of our culture.
The full list of artists featured in “Victory over the Sun: The Poetics and Politics of Eclipse” includes: Lita Albuquerque, Sanford Biggers, Bigert & Bergström, Mel Bochner, Bethany Collins, Nick Doyle, Olafur Eliasson, Stephen Irwin, Titus Kaphar, Jennifer Marman & Daniel Borins, Matthew Porter, Letitia Quesenberry, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Barbara Takenaga, Jan Tichy, Marijke Van Warmerdam, and Brenna Youngblood.
It opens August 19.