ALISON SAAR: STILL...,a collection of 11 sculptures created by artist Alison Saar, includes works from 2010 to 2012 and combines the ruggedness of nature with solid structure; the exhibition includes four never-exhibited works and six new pieces. The exhibition will open at the Driskell Center on Thursday, September 12, 2013 with an opening reception, featuring a gallery tour by the artist, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and will stay on display through Friday, December 13, 2013.
Alison Saar’s work is deeply tied to her multiracial heritage, and it is through this lens which she so strikingly captures the human spirit. Through her sculptures, she displays the primal intensity of people underlying the civility of everyday life. Saar scrutinizes bigotry and historical burdens and portrays these concepts through a visual and kinesthetic tension, common in many of her pieces. One such powerful piece titled Weight shows a young black girl on a swing, weighed down with shackles, a lock and key, boxing gloves and other assorted items on a cotton scale. In his May, 1993 art review, Alison Saar: Big Ideas and Considerable Skill, LA Times art critic Christopher Knight likened the originality of her work to Michelangelo.
Saar’s use of commonplace and specialized materials in her works make them highly unique. When interviewed for the opening Alison Saar: Still, Saar noted her use of diverse materials, “My studio is floor-to-ceiling with materials like that, and when I start cleaning up and going through them, ideas start coming. Like, ‘Oh, yeah! This could be something!’ So I try to keep stuff around. It’s the new little things that can take you to different places.” Saar’s philosophy for understanding her art is to “Just look at it.” She refuses to explicitly define her pieces, instead wishing that people use their own experiences to draw meaning from them, rather than being told what they mean.
Combining African art and ritual, Greek mythology, and German aspects of expressionism, Saar challenges stereotypes and offers an indictment of human discrimination. This exhibition, organized by the Ben Maltz Gallery, Otis College of Art and Design, funded in part by the Contemporary Collectors—Orange County, has traveled to the Figge Art Museum, and later it will travel to Bakalar & Paine Galleries, MassArt in Massachusetts.
The David C. Driskell facility is wheelchair accessible. The Driskell Center Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 11a.m. to 4p.m. with extended hours on Wednesday until 6p.m. The Driskell Center Gallery will additionally be open on Saturday, September 28, October 19, November 16, and December 7, from 11a.m. to 4p.m. The Driskell Center observes all University of Maryland closings due to inclement weather and holidays, including the Thanksgiving holiday November 28-29, 2013. All exhibitions and events at the David C. Driskell Center are free and open to the public. The David C. Driskell Center’s Exhibition Program is supported, in part, by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council.