Tuesday, May 22, 2018

An Exploration of Identity: Your Self-Guided Gallery Tour Companion Guide



A Chaney Gallery Solo Exhibition 

(May – July 2018)

Self-Guided Gallery Tour Companion Guide

Companion Audio Reflections: https://www.elaineweinerreed.com

       Life is messy, unfinished, and beautiful.  

This exhibition is experiential, personal, introspective, and multi-dimensional. 
It celebrates life, honoring the human spirit.

     This exhibition is a virtual tour through life. Although the dialogue might have begun in my studio, I hope you will join in. The journey from one painting to the next is a progression through space and time. The paintings provide glimpses into life-changing stages and challenging times when we choose our attitude, shoulder a new way to keep going, or choose a new path, changing our destiny. Our world and identity are colored by experiences, feelings, thoughts, and perceptions.

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition (First Wall)
© 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     Entering the gallery, the first section or wall of the show, which I refer to as “Looking Inward,” is organized from the perspective of our earlier years, when most of the information is processed from the perspective of how it impacts or matters to us (the ME years). Our world is contained or limited by many factors, and we are mainly doing what others tell us to do do…and trying to figure out what WE want, instead.

     From there or before you even start your gallery tour, I invite you to pause and watch my YouTube video “Masks and Mirrors: Beyond Reality.”  This short video provides a quick overview of elements to consider as reference points, giving insights into why “Masks and Mirrors” has became the overarching theme for my ongoing body of work, and why I am fascinated with the evolution of one's identity and all that it involves. 


Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition (Second Wall)
"Resurrection" (Sculpture)   © 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     As you finish watching the video and compare the first wall with this one, you will notice that this second, longer wall, is more color-rich, with lots of reds and bolder colors. Many things are going on in the paintings, and a lot of emotion is conveyed, along with mystery portrayed in scenes, people, or titles. There is a lot of material, stories within stories... I refer to this wall as the “Inside/Outside” wall, meaning inside our heads, homes, and hearts…and within ourselves. And on the flip side, this phase might also takes us outside of ourselves, our cultures, our homes, and our comfort zones. You might want to think of it as an extended or multi-faceted “leaving the nest” phase, where we venture outward, expanding social circles, language, experiences, knowledge, and impressions. In this phase, we are pushing our boundaries ever wider, opening our minds and our world. Perhaps we are reinventing ourselves, committing to relationships, traveling, defining our lives…It could last for decades.

     Present with us in the room, are three sculptures, titled: “Many Faces,” “Awakening,” and “Resurrection.” As you slowly walk around and between them, see what you can discover and how they relate to the painted artwork. 

     Consider this: Life is greater than the sum of its parts and so are we. There are mysteries to explore and masks to find. Examine the many facets, angles, shadows, and parts and relate it to your own journey. At times, we are vulnerable, unmasked, and our very undercarriage is exposed. But we walk on. We cast shadows, leave traces… We rise, tired, and sometimes broken, and by sheer will, right ourselves, even as it feels like our legs are made of stone and our heart is broken or missing… At such times, only our spirit keeps us among the living. We are survivors, we are the Phoenix Rising. These sculptures are memorials to all the everyday heroes I have known, those whom I call friend or colleague or neighbor, and those I only pass on the road or on the runway of life.


Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition (Alcove, Social Room)
© 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     Into the alcove, the smaller room, we enter what I think of as the “Social Room.” Some Call it Chemistry… In the scenarios, there are groups of people, yet the individuals remain unique, mysteries in a dynamic scene we try to unravel. Who are they? Why are they there? What is the gathering about? What happened before and after the scene captured in the paintings? Did someone just vacate the chairs or is someone expected any moment? What is the mood or energy captured in the rooms? Do you think you would join any of the get-togethers? How will the scene play out? What is the beginning? What is the ending? You tell me…* 

   And then, on the inside archway wall: The Identity Station or Wall of Mirrors. Gazing back-and-forth from the painted scenes to the mirrors, ask yourself: What – or who  do you see? Do you see yourself? Are you now within the scenes, as well? They are reflected with you in the mirrors… What is real? How would you pretend to have a role in those four "painted interiors" behind and around you? How is our identity changed or altered over time and throughout a lifetime – on the inside and outside? How much control do we have? Do we “own” who we are? How much can we influence who we become?


Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition (Identity Station Wall, Social Room)
© 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     As we re-enter the larger room, turn left. On a wall by itself, the painting “BraveHeart” joins the sculptures in paying tribute to courage and surviving what comes our way. Not perfect, not always fully formed, but alive and moving forward…

Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition ("BraveHeart")
© 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     Finally, the last wall as we head back toward the entry door…  I refer to this wall as the “Legacy” or “so what” wall. We are one person, and throughout our lifetime, we bump up against others, much as a pinball – sometimes on purpose, and sometimes at random. We search for our own brand of meaning and style and purpose. Our self-awareness expands as we reflect on our actions and consequences or what we do or don’t do. Who influenced us and who do we influence? Time is relative… Everything and everyone is relative, connected. Our world is vast, yet smaller every day. What positive difference or contribution have we made? What footprint remains after we exit?


Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR) - Masks and Mirrors - An Exploration of Identity Exhibition (Final, Legacy Wall)
© 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed

     From our perceptions of reality to our memories… Time is relative. We are a part of history. We remember, we relate, we teach, and we invent. From Ashes to Ashes…and dust to dust, our legacy determined and written in the paths we have taken, lives we have touched, hands we have held. In the Mirror, unmasked in the end is our legacy – reflected, fragile, temporal – and hopefully beautiful.

Thank you for coming and participating. Our legacies are connected.

*You can also find the video on my YouTube Channel and watch it on your smart device.




 © 2018 Elaine Weiner-Reed (EWR)
      All images and content remain the property of the Artist. No reproductions or prints are authorized. All rights reserved.

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