Last month mnartists.org Project Director (and monster drawer) Scott Stulen and I ventured to Lifeworks administrative headquarters in Eagan to jury a group of twenty-five artworks, which were submitted for inclusion in the organization’s annual traveling art show. The works, created by Lifeworks clients, offered a variety of media and subject matter. After about an hour of intent looking and talking we forced ourselves to decide on the twelve works that would make up the 2008 traveling art show, which will be on view at corporations that employ Lifeworks clients. We walked Mary and Adrian, our Lifeworks hosts, through our thought process, so that they could pass along notes to the artists. It was a great morning – so much dynamic work to digest and reflect upon.
Our choice for Best in Show ended up being a portrait done in crayon of a figure whose gender is ambiguous. The person has a gray beard, but has breasts and wears a feminine-cut green and orange blouse, earrings, and blush. He/she is placed against a vibrant magenta background that appears to be sucking the him/her backwards into a vortex of color. The right side of the figure’s head leans toward the upper right-hand corner of the paper, creating a strong vertical line, while the rest of the figure’s body swerves left. The crayon is applied thickly and throughout the surface of the picture are short, lively, meticulous scratch marks. The work is expressive and intensely personal – it doesn’t offer a clear idea of who this person is or how this person is interacting with the world. The viewer isn’t privy to the whole story.
Sorry that I don’t have a picture of the work to share.I’ll post one once one becomes available. I promise. For now you’ll just have to use your imagination.
“What’s Lifeworks?” you may ask. Lifeworks is a private nonprofit organization that serves 1,200 people with developmental disabilities and their families in the Twin Cities metro and Mankato areas, offering its clients career development and social enrichment services. Currently six of the eight Lifeworks locations offer visual arts programming. Lifeworks is partnering with the Walker over the next two years on enhancing tour experiences for visitors with cognitive disabilities through our Open Door Initiative, which focuses on accessibility through tours and art-making. Open Door Initiatives are funded by MetLife Foundation.