Keene exhibit travels to 'Intersection' of art, culture and identity
Gallery director Maureen Ahern said the exhibit is an experiment of sorts in which people are asked to participate in the artistic process — to bring their own experiences, feelings and thoughts into the gallery, and discover if those things shape how they respond to pieces of art and the circumstances that surrounded its creation.
"Many of them didn't necessarily have an art background, so it's been a fun learning experience," said Ahern, who also selected a piece for the exhibit.
"I hope people realize that how they interpret what they see depends on who they are," said Timney, who cited his participation in the exhibit helped change some of his own thinking. He said this conceptual shift began shortly after his selection of a sculpture that depicted a Native American, which he thought was interesting. What he didn't expect, Timney said, was that his selection, titled "King of the Maquas (Mowhawk)" and created by artist Judd Hartmann, was actually viewed as historically inaccurate by some Native Americans, artists and scholars.
He wound up experiencing the same learning curve he and other academic curators hope the public will encounter.
In asking questions about an object that on the surface appears deceptively simple, Ahern said the hope is people find themselves squarely at the middle of an intersection between art, culture and identity.
For Timney, his selected piece centers on the notion of free speech.
"Free speech is, and always will be, a two-edged sword," he said. "Our courts have generally sought to balance security with freedom when it comes to limiting expression. Where that balance point is, however, depends greatly upon the intersection of numerous aspects of culture."
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