Connections Made at VAN Annual Meeting Exhibition

February 20, 2016  •  3 minute read

Exhibition opening at Disjecta, December 11. 2015

Unintended Connections presented the work of thirteen artists in an exhibition that spanned two venues and many modes of presentation. Yvonne Buchanan (VAN Exhibition Residency, Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT, 2015) and Gregory Michael Hernandez (VAN Exhibition Residency at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, San José, CA, 2012) presented new work reflective of their interests in excavating, exposing and altering complicated community histories through installation. Their work investigates the politicized body, place and presence. While both artists were trained as painters they push at the limitations of materials and genres by expanding into the more ephemeral practices of video and installation. Takahiro Yamamoto (Portland) presented a series of photographs as a way to ask the questions, “Who is being seen?” or “What is the tipping point between individual and community?” Similarly, the Portland-based artists in the exhibition, Michael Reinsch, Sharita Towne, Ashby Lee Collinson and FLOCK members Tahni Holt, Allie Hankins, Eliza Larson, Lucy Yim, Tracy Broyles and Danielle Ross, work in-between performance, social practice, comedy, photography, dance, video, installation, collaborative and individualistic practices. For Unintended Connections these artists presented a series of performative actions at the exhibition’s opening. These artists choose to present ideas as material, moving bodies as visual art, experience as social sculpture.

Sharita Towne/Weird Allan Kaprow, Karoaking the Museum

The work presented in Unintended Connections was created independently by the participating artists and illustrates the vibrant state of contemporary art. The work was diverse and varied and never specifically intended to be presented together. But, serendipity brought this work together and connections were inevitably drawn between the work by the viewer and the artists, creating a community of ideas that could never exist in isolation.

This varied and shape-shifting exhibition was emulative of the Visual Artists Network (VAN)’s own form and mission, one that is responsive not only to artists needs but to the evolving conversation around the intersections of Visual and Performing Art and our dedication to connecting artists to diverse communities in meaningful and potentially transformative ways.

Michael Reinsch, Albatross in front of Michael Reinsch and the City by Takahiro Yamamoto

VAN is a national network of visual artists, curators, and exhibitors providing opportunities and subsidy support for under-recognized visual artists, nurtures the creation of experimental artwork and supports the touring of contemporary visual artists and their work. Patterned after the National Performance Network’s model performing arts program, VAN was launched in 2007 as a pilot, and in 2009 the program was formally established through the induction of the VAN Partners, fifteen leading contemporary arts organizations from across the United States.

Unintended Connections, was organized by the Visual Artists Network, with the support of NPN/VAN 2015 Annual Meeting host, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (NPN/VAN Partner Organization); Venue host Disjecta Contemporary Art Center; Exhibition Preparator and VAN Site Coordinator, Spencer Byrnes-Seres and NPN/VAN intern W. Orchid Robinson.

The NPN/VAN Annual Meeting Exhibition is made possible, in part, with generous support from Mellon Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Ford Foundation, The Ford Family Foundation, Japan Foundation Center for Global Partnership, Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission, Miami Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, Louisiana Division of the Arts, Nathan Cummings Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Quixote Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Official Airline of the National Performance Network, WESTAF

Photos: worksighted