Friday, July 29, 2011

Narragansett Times Review

Hera Gallery opens new ‘In and Out of the Box’ exhibit

July 24, 2011

Hera Gallery will feature “Out of the Box,” a new exhibit on view through Aug. 13. Call 789-1488 or visit www.heragallery.org. The gallery is located at 327 Main St., Wakefield.

SOUTH KINGSTOWN—A vast network or stamps, cardboard boxes and envelopes travel rapidly across the world, delivering gifts and other pieces of mail to their ultimate destinations. The process of packaging, opening and repackaging the materials we ship out daily, however, is never consciously apprehended. Hera Gallery seeks to change this ignorance of our postal lives.

‘In and Out of the Box’ is an internationally juried exhibition which showcases various artists’ takes on how our daily lives are affected by the postal materials with which we interact. Modern consumerism, with the advent of the internet, has taken shopping from the country’s malls and turned it over to the touching of a few keystrokes and clicking of the mouse. Online platforms such as Amazon and eBay have put more shipping materials into the world’s skies and upon the roads than at any time before. The latest installment at Hera Gallery seeks to conceptualize these seemingly mundane exchanges.

“Hera Gallery has a history of experimentation and willingness to produce shows that reflect on the times we live,” said local artist and contributor Michael Yefko. “Hera's mission is to explore contemporary culture, social and aesthetic issues. This show was a chance to have a Conceptual/Sculpture Art Exhibition.”

Artists have explored the psychological meanings behind packaging and shipping out materials. All of the pieces include a USPS postal shipping box, but what they contain and spill out into the gallery is decided by the artists and their muse. Yefko contributed two pieces, including ‘Proof of Entry,’ a display of hidden images contained within the package.

“I wanted to create a piece that involved the viewer as a participant in the workings of ‘work’,” said Yefko.. “Each viewer is asked as ‘Proof of Entry’ to remove the top of the contents of the box, thus revealing a new image and ‘Proof of Entry’ for the next receiver/viewer.”

Artist Lauren McAdams displays an opened package which contains the requisite packaging materials, such as Styrofoam which protects the small mirror which hangs on the gallery wall above it.

“My work focuses on creating thematic commentaries, narratives, and questions about the inner emotions which occur in interpersonal relationships,” said McAdams. “I created a belt buckle with a mirror as a large visual element. There is a constant uneasy feeling for the viewer between the avoidance of looking into the mirror and he fear of breaking the mirror.”

“For an exhibition about shipping, there is nothing worse than receiving or accidently causing a broken mirror,” she continued.

The ‘In and Out of the Box’ exhibition also forces the artists themselves to conceptualize their daily postal activities which are typically not the focus of their art. The show addresses the nature of packing, sending, delivering, and receiving shipped goods.

“As artists, we are involved in getting our work seen,” said Yefko. “We enter juried shows, and once accepted we need to package up and ship our work. Once a show is over it gets repackaged and sent back. We thought it might be interesting to let that all be seen in the exhibition.”

“The challenge of developing new uses for cast-off stuff stimulates my creative imagination,” said contributor Michele C. Leavitt. “Repackaging a variety of materials and shipping them to the gallery means they are again part of the ‘nature of boxing.’ I enjoy the opportunity to honor the history of reinventing uses for stuff and creative design along both lines.”

The exhibition will be available to the public from July 9 to August 13. Dina Deitsch, Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, Mass., is juror of the exhibition. Hera Gallery is open Wednesday through Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information, visit www.heragallery.org or call 789-1488.

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