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What does movement mean to you? Is it a noun – the act of changing location or position? Or an action verb? How is movement understood in the context of nature, body, mind, or mechanics? When is movement social, personal, or physical?
In the main hallway space of the Sertoma Arts Center in Raleigh, Arts Access presents Movement, an inviting art exhibition featuring works of art created by North Carolina artists with disabilities in response to the theme of movement. Juried by Kim Tyler and part of Art Access' annual Series of Fortunate Events (SOFE) which functions as a platform to promote the work of artists and performers with disabilities, Movement emphasizes the diverse experiences and creative talents of our state's community of disabled people. On the afternoon of Sunday, July 24, Arts Access hosted a pleasantly crowded artist reception for Movement where Executive Director Eileen Bagnall and the Board of Directors warmly welcomed visitors, artists discussed their artwork, and guests participated in art activities making origami creations with Alexander Roa and repurposed CD mobiles with Board President Michelle Davis Petelinz.
Hanging on a rail system on the white walls, the 24 works of art sparkled as they conveyed the sights, sounds, and senses of movement. Chapel Hill-based artist Eduardo Lapetina's "Calming The Seiche In My Spirit," a large abstract canvas of green, white, and burgundy acrylic oscillations, spoke to me as a form of energetic catharsis suggesting that the artist did not use one hand or one arm while painting, but engaged his entire being in the creation of this piece. Where Lapetina's work handsomely implies motion, Wayne Upchurch's photography pointedly captures it mid-action. The Wendell based artist's black-and-white photograph of blurred action entitled "You gotta move…" grabbed my attention, forcing me closer until I discerned the subject to be a cat – this held me still in consideration of how the torn right edge of the print reiterates that this is a single dynamic moment in time.
Roman Gross' photograph, "Sounds of Water," illustrates Niagara Falls in all her glory. I could hear the water crashing down as the waterfalls spread over the entire composition. Upon hearing me share this comment, the Raleigh-based artist enthusiastically showed me other shots he is proud of, mentioned his work as a preschool teacher, and explained his loss of sight in his left eye. Also living with low vision, Smithfield based artist Karen Anderson works in photography and jewelry making. As I viewed and pondered her work, "A Ripple in Time," Anderson introduced herself to me and shared that rather than looking for the water source illustrated in the image, she listened for it. She explained how her special photography equipment emits an auditory alert when the lens is in focus. She expressed delight in returning to the black-and-white photography she studied as a student due to limited color contrast in her vision. Before her commentary on "A Ripple in Time," the nature photography piece enticed me with its unusually angled water, strong contrast in value, and sharp, beautiful subject matter, but upon learning her process, I understood that Anderson possesses an artistic understanding of photography that goes beyond eyesight.
Mitzie Jokich's repurposed wooden material sculpture featuring train track pieces entitled "Tracks to Paradise" is compelling, luring you in to see what objects have been recovered and combined together. Jokich's dreams of creating monumental sculptures transformed into smaller-scale found-object creations due to numerous spine fusions from multiple accidents. Talking with the Chapel Hill-based artist about her work, Jokich radiated passion for art-making, arts-based learning, and accessibility. Speaking with the artists and the Art Access staff at the exhibition reception truly illuminated how limitations do not quell creativity, but only necessitate new directions, alternative methods, and different modes of communication. Jokich told me "disabilities are disguised abilities" and this sentiment is the common thread of Movement, the SOFE, and Arts Access; we all are trying to move through life – physically, socially, personally – in the best way we know how, and though no two ways are the same, each is undeniably capable and harbors diverse abilities throughout. I believe that art, whether it be visual or performing art, offers us all communication methods that reach deeper than traditional speech; I found that the artwork presented in Movement and the represented artists illustrate this sentiment as more than a belief, but a fact that we all ought to witness and embrace.
Founded in 1984, Arts Access is the only nonprofit organization in North Carolina dedicated to ensuring the accessibility of the arts to children and adults with disabilities. In addition to the SOFE, Arts Access organizes statewide workshops and training on accessibility, facilitates the Artist Link Project, and works with Triangle area venues to create audio descriptions for performing and public arts.
Movement is on view at the Sertoma Arts Center and online through August 31. Audio descriptions and image descriptions are available for all works of art. Artworks in this exhibition are for sale and as a 0% commission show, all proceeds from sales will go directly to the artist. For details, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Sertoma Arts Center to purchase artwork. For more details on this exhibition, please view the sidebar.