Telling Stories: Reframing The Narratives

Independent/Courtesy Devin Troy Strother

“Telling Stories: Reframing The Narratives” is Parrish Art Museum’s new online exhibition featuring the works of eight contemporary artists who transform their own life stories through distinct approaches to storytelling. It will launch on Friday, May 15, at 5 PM with a live presentation by Adjunct Curator David Pagel, professor of art theory and history at Claremont Graduate University, and Museum Director Terrie Sultan. This is the museum’s first online exhibit.

The group of artists is unique, representing a variety of media, ages, stages in their career, heritage, and geographic location. “While it may be impossible to present a show with something for everyone, this one aims in that direction: to bring together works whose storylines are unique yet weave together in ways that reveal what it’s like to be alive today,” said Pagel.

As a fully immersive virtual experience, it promises not to disappoint. The program is accompanied by a fully illustrated, 224-page catalogue published by Parrish, as it was originally scheduled to be an in-person viewing for spring, along with video interviews with Pagel and the artists discussing both theme and concept. There will be essays on the artists, works on paper, sculpture, and installation, along with additional audio and video material.

Artist diversity accounts for a deeply personalized approach to storytelling and how the narrative changes based on who is telling said story. JooYoung Choi was born in South Korea in 1983 before being adopted by a New Hampshire family. Her five works dive into conformity and cultural displacement through hand-sewn installations combing fantasy and reality.

Independent/Courtesy Elliott Hudley

Thirty-year old fine art photographer Jeremy Dennis is a member of the Shinnecock Indian Nation in Southampton. His works create supernatural digital collages inspired by mythical tales, present experiences, and future forecasts.

Born in 1972, Jeffrey Gibson has lived many places around the world, but is of Choctaw-Cherokee heritage. His art collides Native arts with European-derived modernism, touching upon social conflicts and personal history through geometric abstraction and craftwork.

Based out of Los Angeles, Elliott Hudley is inspired by his Southern heritage, Greek tragedy, politics, and pop culture. The 45-year old creates complicated scenarios mimicking information in a digital age.

A conceptual artist born in 1979 in New England, Candice Lin finds new insight through unearthing facts and bringing them to drawings, collages, sculptures, and installations.

Born in 1951, Mary McCleary depicts everyday life in three dimensional collages, but upon closer look the narratives are layered with symbolism referencing pieces of history. Using visual clues, she takes ordinary materials and layers them into her pieces.

Jim Shaw, born in 1952, transforms the nonsensical into multifaceted commentaries as he creates paintings and sculptures that walk the line of dreaming and waking states.

Pasadena-raised Devin Troy Strother, born in 1986, uses African American imagery in conjunction with bright colors, paper dolls, and illustrations to reveal the untold narratives of controversial topics.

Independent/Courtesy Jim Shaw

As fact and fiction become intertwined, each narrative holds its own importance. The exhibit, while portraying wildly different perspectives, touches upon story control and how it plays out based on to whom it belongs. It juxtaposes truth and power, outside influence and inner thoughts, distinction and availability.

“The current challenges presented by our physical closure have also offered us a wonderful opportunity to explore new ways of thinking about exhibitions, and sharing information and inspiration. This digital ‘Telling Stories’ is an engaging new delivery method that allows audiences from around the world to see and experience works that are at once joyous and optimistic, deeply thoughtful and stimulating, and that give us new ways of thinking about the stories we tell,” Sultan said.

Following the May 15 launch, the exhibition will continue to develop online with additional material, supported by Friday Night Live! programs featuring artists and curators in conversation. Visit www.parrishart.org.

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