Chico Art Center is in right state of mind
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“Discovery Series: State of Mind” is about perspective. Smith uses swimming as a metaphor for pushing through tough times in life. Relyea casts “shadows” to reflect on marginalized people, and Blankenship uses a disco ball to add a little twinkle to everyday life.
Smith’s “Swimming Upstream” is a collection of fiber arts based on photos of Smith swimming and different colors of various bodies of water. She suffered a work-related injury in 1999 but when able to exercise again, she decided to swim.
“I realized you are not alone. Thousands of people have injuries and lose jobs,” Smith said. “I’m amazed at the inspiration from it. The day will come when you feel confident – treading water can save your life.”
One of Smith’s works is called “The Team,” which is different from her typical one person pieces. This piece has five subjects instead with each subject in different positions in the light teal water. Smith said that they are the people who helped her along the way of her injury.
Relyea’s work includes what looks like blown up fabric shadows on the wall. Each shadow depicts different kinds of problems or diseases, such as schizophrenia in “Click” and Multiple Sclerosis in “John and Emma.”
Blankenship takes photos of the ordinary and uses a disco ball to create colorful stars around the scenes. Her photographs presented in the gallery include a chair and table, as well as the palm of a hand and close up of a clothes rack.
Blankenship’s “Secret World” is a simple scene underneath a table and chairs. The disco ball projects stars under the table and on the sides of the wall. In the gallery, there is a dark room to enter from. The disco ball, chair and table are suspended from the ceiling where visitors may take their own versions of Secret World.
The art expresses different feelings and experiences people may have over the course of their lives, such as dealing with a disease, adding a little fun to life or going through tough challenges.
“Each artist is working from an empathetic perspective, whether they are trying to understand the circumstances of someone on the other side of their experience, or wanting to relate their challenges or dreams to another,” said Cameron Kelly, Gallery Director of Chico Art Center.
Julia Maldonado can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_arts on Twitter.