Invisible:VisAble Exhibition

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Invisible:VisAble Exhibition

Art can be a way to heal. Many artists privately face invisible medical and mental illness challenges that others are unaware of because they look, and act, absolutely normal. Some artists creatively tap into these challenges and give voice to them through a variety of mediums and styles. Invisible:VisAble, curated by artist Leisa Rich, is an art exhibition that features several artists whose art works are informed by their challenges. It is to be held in Atlanta October 30-November 27, 2015 at Abernathy Arts Center Gallery. It is these shared experiences that break down barriers between humans and lightens the load, but only if we know they are shared. Why is it often a secret? This exhibit will help us to find out.

 

Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Members: 22
Latest Activity: Nov 5, 2015

Invisible:VisAble Exhibition Statement

An invisible disability can be defined as a serious, on-going medical or mental health challenge that impedes a completely normal existence but does not usually “show” on the outside. My deafness -- the most challenging of my medical issues and something I pretended didn’t exist for most of my life -- recently began insinuating itself into my creative art practice, informing personal pieces I kept secret in the studio, never showing them to the public nor confronting why not. 

All of the artists in this exhibition lead what can be perceived as fully “normal” lives: as educators, professional artists, mothers, and business people. Every day we privately contend with needles, drugs, treatments, hospitalizations, erroneous assumptions, misperceptions and more, because we look absolutely normal. We use art as a means of putting these challenges into perspective, expressing our emotions about the challenge, and to provide the viewers of our works a new way of seeing. The artists in this exhibition have Diabetes, Deafness, Epilepsy, Funnel Chest, Bulimia, Polycystic Kidney Disease, Spasmodic Torticollis, Depression, and more. Through a variety of techniques and mediums such as drawing on paper, paint on canvas, thread on fabric, yarn and weaving, metal and installation and more we make works and make public our feelings.

A recent conversation with art friends, one whose diabetes leads her to create artworks that incorporate her test strips and another whose intricate imagery clearly spoke of seizure-affected brain “wiring” firmed up for me that there are other artists using these hidden challenges to inform their works. When I didn't hear what a cashier said to me one day and said, "Pardon?" only to have her yell the retort, "What are 'ya....deaf or somethin'?" it became very important to me to provide an opportunity to showcase these works to the public in order to deepen awareness of invisible disabilities.

In putting on this exhibition I am hoping to encourage more understanding of what it means to live with a medical challenge(s) not readily obvious on the exterior, how artists deal with this via their visual art making, and ways to positively inform and engage others in this topic.

 

 

Participating Artists:

 

Brooks Harris Stevens- U.S., Associate professor of Fibers, Eastern Michigan State U

J.Penney Burton- Canada, artist, art educator, art writer

Linda Wallace- Canada, Artist: hand woven tapestry, writer

Leisa Rich- U.S., (Canadian) artist, art educator, art writer

Michelle Urbanek- U.S., school teacher, artist

Katherine Soucie- Canada, fashion designer, artist, educator, writer

Leah Owenby- U.S., gallery assistant, artist

Kathy Abernathy Meliopoulos- U.S., artist

Lynne Lomofsky- South Africa, artist

Julie Sims, U.S., visual artist and photographer

Rea Rossi, U.S. studio artist/adjunct instructor at Temple University and Towson University

Lauren Sandler, U.S., artist, adjunct instructor

Kelsey Simmen, U.S. artist, jewelry designer

Jason Thomson, U.S. artist, gallery assistant

Ingrid Knox, U.S. Georgia State student, artist

* These artworks are not necessarily the ones that will be in the exhibition; some are, some are older works, some are in progress for the exhibition. This is an overview. 

Discussion Forum

Invisible:visAble is up and is an amazing exhibition!!!!

Started by Leisa Rich Nov 5, 2015. 0 Replies

Two years ago I was standing in a grocery store line. It was my turn to check out and the cashier said something to me that I didn’t hear, so I politely replied, Pardon? and she responded,“WHAT ARE ‘YA….DEAF OR SOMETHIN’?”Surrounded  (detail from the installation- whispers to you from under the ear...Never Mind, What are 'ya...deaf or somethin'? Listen Up!)                                                                               Leisa Rich                                                 2015                       84”x 64”x 84”Installation: Plastic, thread, PLA, fabric, found object, antique lace, recorder: 3D printing, Free motion machine embroidery, stitchingYes. Yes, I am. It took me half a lifetime to admit it and embrace it instead of hide it. I had been making artwork that featured ears for some years and had…Continue

Tags: telepresence, kinetic, fabric, installation, robots

Coming up soon! Topic: Professionalism

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Harriete E Berman Sep 8, 2015. 17 Replies

Hello!So much has gone on since I last posted here. There has been a whirlwind of minutiae getting ready for Invisible:visAble! It opens on October 30, 2015. The challenges have been many. I debated not writing about what has REALLY gone on during this pre-exhibition time period of well over a year -- we live in a time when everyone is always trying to "look good" and are often not forthcoming with anything but perfection -- but then I realized that my experiences might be an empathic gift to another newbie curator and maybe also a lesson to artists willing to listen and improve! In my personal life, I always say the one thing you can count on is change and in curating, it is no different. Change can be dealt with, a problem approached, a solution found. Move forward, right?What CAN'T be dealt with is when you are responsible for several people and some of those people display a lack of professionalism, causing so much extra work and teeth-gritting, making a curator's life a…Continue

Tags: curating, advice, exhibitions, integrity, curators

Introducing Rea

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Rea Jun 23, 2015. 6 Replies

This is the seventh Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer! Rea Rossi prefers to be known as "Rea". This interview is very special to me, since Rea and I share the challenge of deafness. As I curate this exhibition, my hearing in my good ear is diminishing, and I face deafness sooner, rather than later. For Rea and I, creating will be our way of communicating."I was born with a genetic bilateral hearing loss. Since I was three months old I have worn hearing aids. They clarify and amplify sounds for me, which are otherwise subdued or incomprehensible. Environmental noises, overlapping…Continue

Tags: white, bone, hearing, deafness, human

Introducing Lynne Lomofsky

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Harriete E Berman May 11, 2015. 2 Replies

This is the sixth Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer!“I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 1995, and underwent 10 months of chemotherapy. The physical changes to my body wrought by the chemotherapy urged me to embark on an investigation, down to a cellular level, to discover a visual language with which to depict both my own illness and that of the ill body in general. I began documenting, collating and recording my medical treatments and diagnostic procedures and experiences, which were then distilled into a collection of objects and images which were initially created by…Continue

Tags: installation, illness, challenges, sculpture, painting

Introducing Brooks Harris Stevens

Started by Leisa Rich Apr 19, 2015. 0 Replies

This is the fifth Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer! Time & weight are two factors that I did not have to consider not so long ago.  Daily reminders of weight constraints fly frequently in my thoughts as does time.  Heavily burdened by the impact of weight and time have altered not only my studio practice but also my life, forever. Not being able to carry, move or lift over…Continue

Seeking more artists for Invisible:VisAble- do YOU know someone to recommend?

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Leisa Rich Apr 2, 2015. 2 Replies

I am seeking some really great, positive artists whose art is informed by an "invisible" challenge. Are you an artist doing work conceptually inspired by epilepsy? Depression? Bipolar? Deafness? or? Do you know an artist who you might recommend?The idea for this exhibition happened when my deafness -- the most challenging of my medical issues and something I pretended didn’t exist for most of my life -- began insinuating itself into my creative fiber art practice. I saw it in art works I kept secret in the studio. Why keep it a secret, I wondered? I spoke with a friend, Atlanta artist Leah Owenby- whose diabetes inspires her to create artworks that incorporate her test strips and needles, and another artist, whose intricate imagery clearly speaks of seizure-affected brain “wiring”. Exhibitions showing this work are rare and it became a personal imperative to create a space for this conversation so it wouldn’t be “secret” any longer. We know that artists incorporate and heal via the…Continue

Tags: photography, performance, painting, pottery, printmaking

Introducing Leah Owenby

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Leisa Rich Feb 27, 2015. 2 Replies

This is the fourth Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer! Leah Owenby was really the impetus behind this project. I met her early last year and was blown away by the art she had constructed using her used diabetes test strips and needles. Her lively, engaging personality put a positive perspective in a negative and matched the way I had lived my life, never using my challenge of deafness as an excuse for not living fully. I will let her tell the story!"This January marked the 17th year since my diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes. I think back on the thousands of injections of insulin and…Continue

Tags: painting, invisible, disabilities, positivity, sculpture

Introducing Michelle Urbanek

Started by Leisa Rich Jan 4, 2015. 0 Replies

This is the third Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer! I met Michelle when she took an Artistic Genealogy workshop from me a couple of years ago. We have stayed in touch and I believe that the valuable insights she unearthed while taking the workshop have benefitted her progress through a difficult, daily challenge. Her art work continues to progress and is helping her to deal, and hopefully, heal. I'll let her talk about her challenge! "The creative process for making pieces for Invisible:VisAble was a slow start at first, because I wasn’t sure how I was “disabled” by my disordered…Continue

Introducing Linda Wallace

Started by Leisa Rich. Last reply by Harriete E Berman Dec 15, 2014. 1 Reply

This is the second Artist Spotlight that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some insights they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer!Invisible:VisAble Artist SpotlightLinda Wallace…Continue

Introducing Kathy Abernathy Meliopoulos

Started by Leisa Rich Dec 5, 2014. 0 Replies

This is the first Artist Spotlight I am doing that will feature artists participating in the Invisible:VisAble exhibition. Every couple of weeks I will introduce you to one of the participants, give a little information about them, and include some information they provide me with about their art, challenge(s), what they are working on...I have left it up to the artists what they would like to include! Please do leave comments; we would love to hear what you have to offer!Invisible:VisAble Artist SpotlightKathy Abernathy MeliopoulosInvisible Disabilities: Pectus Excavatum or Funnel Chest; Spasmodic Torticollis or Cervical DystoniaKathy is working on several new pieces for the exhibition. She talks here about the apron series, and the challenges that led to the creation of these art works.  Learn more…Continue

Tags: craft, stitching, intimacy, visual, invisible

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