Positive Change Curatorial Statement


Acknowledging the many Positive Changes that the Chautauqua Visual Arts has made on the lives of hundreds of artists during many stages of their careers, this exhibition highlights the work of alumni from the Chautauqua School of Art as well as former CVA Gallery interns. Through their work in and out of the studio, these artists create positive change in their communities while pursuing socially conscious practices.   Precise lines and patterns reflect Timothy Hyunsoo Lee’s anxieties around immigration, assimilation, and the search for belonging as a queer Asian-American scientist and artist. In Molly Bernstein’s ceramic work, color and pattern elicit a sense of play and joyfulness reminiscent of childhood memories. Lara Mann uses geometric shapes and vibrant color gradients in an attempt to capture the perfection and mystery of celestial bodies.   Colleen Coleman uses collage to mine and meld her African, European, and American identity, hoping to uncover veiled histories and synthesize them into new and shared futures. Informed by traditions of her Black American and Jewish ancestry, the interdisciplinary practice of Jessica Valoris charts pathways toward Black liberation and community healing. Combining textiles and found materials, Marshall Ransfield “explores identity, gender, and queerness as a transgender, Jewish, and Māori person.”   Kelsie Tyson adorns earthenware with paint, luster, and cheeky yet positive affirmations. Reacting to recent discriminatory legislation, Brett Taylor’s layered printed imagery finds new surfaces for social justice protest. A nod to the processing of manila hemp in the Philippines, Mic Boekelmann cuts manila envelopes into images related to “interconnectedness, care, and growth.” The collaged imagery in Tate Leone’s paintings reflect her search for positivity during the difficult days of the Covid 19 pandemic.   As the School of Art takes a pause this summer to revitalize its facilities in anticipation of new leadership next year, we are pleased to maintain the presence and spirit of the School of Art this summer in our galleries. Many of these works are generated from the deeply personal ways in which each artist experiences the world, but they also reveal a desire to foster connections with their shared communities, histories, and environments. We look forward to welcoming the diverse works and perspectives of new School of Art residents in 2024.     Erika Diamond / Associate Director of Galleries
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