Posing the Question Exhibition
The topics of racial equality and a fight for justice have been at the forefront of headlines when we look back at 2020. The issues have forced many of us to decide where we stand, and whether we choose to stand in unity, agree to disagree, or just disagree. The latest Heights Arts exhibition Posing the Question showcases these topics and how our nation is responding to them.
Featured artists include Kenneth Bernstein, Matthew Deibel, Mona Gazala, Kenn Hetzel, Scott Kraynak, Liz Maugans, and Omid Tavakoli, with an accompanying spotlight show by Helen Liggett. Their work ranges from photography and paintings reflecting systematic racism from years past, to manipulated photos taken during social justice protests in 2020. Maugans’ paintings recall a time of self-reflection in 2020, when she enrolled in a social justice class and started daily morning runs to meditate on what the classes taught her.
“On these runs, I wonder how things can be fixed, what those new ideas and structures can look like, so they are equal and fair and socially just,” she said. “It is hard to find an hour that is hopeful but this temporary escapism and affirmation of sweating the toxins and stress from my body, allows me to face the day ahead with this very simple vision of equality and love.”
In Tavakoli’s Sea of Cops, the artist multiplies figures of state troopers in full swat gear to fill half the canvas. He says this represents the current issues of over-policing.
“From a distance the work looks like a black blob of ink, then as the viewer gets closer, they start to see markings. As they investigate further, they see the bigger picture, much like all the issues that have made 2020 such a monumental year,” Tavakoli explained.
The adjacent Spotlight Gallery features artist Helen Liggett, who photographs women she has known for years as they gather for clay-making classes. Liggett says her pieces are a counterpart to the idea of Posing the Question. In contrast to some of the direct political statements in the main exhibition, these pieces showing artists at work making things of clay present the idea of stillness as the answer.
“They worked in an open space with layers of clay below and floating, flowing, rippling
conversation above, fashioning worlds based firmly in experience and in the clay,” said Liggett. “The hands of potters have an intimate relationship with their materials. These hands
and their work are such familiars that at some point the differences between them begin to
blur. Photography reveals this process, announcing truths both humble and profound.”
Posing the Question runs January 22 through March 14. The exhibition was originally scheduled for summer of 2020, but pushed back to allow the public to see and enjoy the artwork in-person.
The public is encouraged to visit Heights Arts at 2175 Lee Road to view the exhibition. Opening night viewing will be from 5-8 p.m. Visit this link to sign-up for half-hour viewing sessions.
View our Press Release to learn more about the event.
Click the player below to watch our video from opening night, and get a preview of the artists work.