(Above: Decision Portraits at Vision Gallery, Chandler, Arizona. Click on any image in this post to enlarge.)
Steve and I returned last Tuesday afternoon from a long weekend in Arizona where we attended the opening reception of my Decision Portraits at Vision Gallery in Chandler. We arrived early in order to get photos of the show ... especially since many of the series' participants aren't able to come to any of the exhibits. The people who shared their very private choices live all over the world. Thus, I wanted to snap as many shots as I could to share the experience of being in a space facing all these very real decisions. It is truly an honor to have my work in this prestigious space.
(Above: Some of the Vision Gallery staff before the reception.)
I am totally in Eric Faulhaber's debt. (Standing on left.) His trust in my work made this exhibition possible. He's been with Vision Gallery for over twenty-four years. He's absolutely wonderful ... as is the new member of the Vision Gallery group, Justin Sanchez, (standing on right) who handled much of the email correspondence leading up to the show.
(Above: Youngest Child, Decision Portrait Series.)
Although I did not have any family members physically present, it felt like several were watching ... like both my youngest sister Sonya and my Dad!
(Above: Volunteer, Cheater, On Fighting Cancer I, and Unplugged.)
My first cousin, Monika, is on the far right in the photo above as Unplugged. She lives almost close enough for us to have visited this past weekend ... just a bit farther than we really wanted to drive ... but she was there in Vision Gallery.
(Above: Cheater, On Fighting Cancer I, and Unplugged. Please note: The easels on the counter are the "stories" behind each piece. These stories are all on the Decision Portrait blog ... a blog that really does read like a book!)
I'm providing some of the links to the various pages on the Decision Portrait blog that relate the "behind the scenes" story for each portrait. As this exhibit, however, no Internet connection is needed. The Vision Gallery staff selected to professionally print, mount, and display all these narratives beside or under each piece. I was simply amazed by all the help they opted to do. In all the other shows featuring this work, none of this detail appeared. Each show has been wonderful and different ... but this one is especially strong on the conceptual reason for the series. I really appreciate that!
(Above: Recycler, Self Portrait, Expatriate, Immigrants, and Psychic.)
Right inside the main gallery door is my Self Portrait ... around the corner from my elder son, Mathias, as Expatriate. I don't know how I missed snapping a photo of my sister Wanda's portrait, Twenty-Five Year Sober. It was the first in the entire series which now numbers 108 pieces!
(Above: Aylah and I Buckled Up.)
The most recently completed portrait, Aylah, was hanging beside I Buckled Up ... and this is exactly how I hoped to see these two portraits ... a powerful reminder, a really good and often daily decision to make. Side by side, these people confront the realities of the choices we make and the potential consequences.
(Above: Atheist, Creationist, Buddhist on wall on left. Center: Knight Riders. Gift of Life, Mackenzie at 15, Educating at Home, Making a Difference, Poet, and Soul Mates.)
This was the first time Aylah's portrait was hung in a Decision Portrait exhibit. It was seen in public ... by lots and lots of people ... because I stitched it while sitting with a curated selection of the portraits last November at the International Quilt Festival in Houston.
Yet, it wasn't the only portrait to have its first occasion on a gallery wall. Knight Riders has never been selected by a curator for one of the smaller shows and it was censored by the gallery director during the big show in 2010 at City Gallery at Waterfront Park in Charleston, South Carolina. I know it is controversial. It is a shocking way to personally examine the decisions one makes that other people might really, really hate. Thankfully, Vision Gallery appreciates the edgy, thought-provoking, and conceptual nature of this series. I hope these portraits make people THINK!
(Above: Me and Rita Blockson, the Decision Portrait Series participant for the portrait For Science which is behind us on the wall.)
The highlight of the reception had to be meeting Rita Blockson who posed for a significant decision ... the choice to donate her body to science. Her story is an amazing one and I was thrilled to chat with this talented art quilter and her husband.
Not all the Decision Portraits are at Vision Gallery. A few generous people have already purchased their portrait ... which gave me the funds to go to Houston last November. Fortunately, the Vision Gallery helped get me to Arizona for this show. Plus, some of the portraits will be hanging in the Chandler Center for the Arts, a performing arts venue about a half mile up the street from Vision Gallery. This is a BIG PLUS for my work and for me. The exposure to people who wouldn't generally visit an art gallery but attend live theater, dance, drama, and musical events is wonderful. About twenty of the portraits will open there later this month! (So ... if you are a participant in this series and don't see your photo in the images further below, please know that you'll be in the Chandler Center for the Arts' lobby all summer!) Scroll down for more images from Decision Portraits at Vision Gallery!
After Steve and I got home on Tuesday night, we installed The Canopy at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios for a show called Artfields Extended. It went up like a charm ... which was a good thing because its placement probably needed to be done before the rest of the artwork could most appropriately be situated.
(Above: Artist Richard Morgan and my husband Steve on Tuesday night after hanging The Canopy.)
By the next day, the show was in place and I think Alexander Wild's two partially nude, female sculptures are exactly PERFECT under my piece. Together our work suggests everything beautiful, flawed, and ethereal about the fleeting sense of memory, the truths about fairy-tales, and the way cherished people and things become part of the past. Unfortunately, I will not be at the opening reception tomorrow night. Fortunately, I'll be in Athens, Ohio at the opening of Quilt National ... which I'll blog about soon ... finally sharing my art quilt accepted into this international show!
(Above: The Canopy at Gallery 80808/Vista Studios with Alexander Wild's sculptures underneath it.)
(Above and below: More photos from Decision Portraits at Vision Gallery! Click on any image to enlarge.)