As far as mental escapes from life’s various grinds go, I think it’s safe to say that most people turn to music. It’s accessible, direct, and intimate in a way that visual images simply can’t be. As an example I’d cite subway riders, those tuned into their headphones always appear far more transported than magazine or newspaper perusers.
Curated by Karen Codd, Saturday Sun at Capricious Space offers a spread of works—primarily photo-centric—that focus on these fleeting moments of relief from the daily mental murk. The twelve artists in the exhibition are all in their emergent stage, young like the British singer/songwriter Nick Drake who penned the somber tune, Saturday Sun, in the dawn of his tragically brief career. (Drake knew a thing or two about needing an escape route from life’s downer moments; he overdosed at twenty-six.)
For the most part the artwork in the exhibition features images both quotidian and quaint: a scintillating snatch of California shore, a snow covered cactus, an above ground pool in a moment of quiet vacancy. Generally the work isn’t too technically rigorous, but a highly refined finish wouldn’t capture the same emotive quality. The exception here is Mara Baldwin’s graphite and marker drawing of a really long friendship bracelet titled “Keep Going.” Baldwin’s piece is transporting less through the image depicted than in the embodied concentration her painstaking attention to detail no doubt requires.
What I like the most about this show is that it has a strong sense of genuine feeling. Emerging artists know better than most the difficulty of learning to trust oneself when the support team is just friends and family. In fact, an ability to step outside the contours of life’s routine trajectory could be one of the most crucial abilities for young artists to harness. And for most of the artists in this exhibition practicing art seems to be a solo venture, which only enhances the need for a some kind of outlet to ground oneself and keep from getting carried away in the brain fuzz.
The artwork in the exhibition, like Drake’s melancholy tune, captures a sense of that release. It’s a show for rumination and quiet reflection, like listening to a song you’ve loved for half of your life or taking an old familiar walk just for the walk.
(Images: Dana Gentile, Waterfall, 2009, Photo collage, 12x12 inches. © Courtesy of the artist & Capricious Space; Opening Night shot courtesy of Jessica Olm)