Exert taken from Claremont Graduate University's the Flame Magazine article FALL ART EXHIBITION: Biomythography: Currency Exchange by: Alissa Stedman, August 10, 2016
There is the show, and there is the preparation. The first welcomes the public to observe your art, unravel it, judge it, and in the most flattering, sensual sense of the ambiguous word, “experience” it. The second, as in the creation of art for a gallery exhibit, is a bit like drawing life from dust.
“Installations are tricky,” says artist and Claremont Graduate University (CGU) alumnus Chuck Feesago (MFA, 2007). Describing his process, “A lot of work occurs in model form, just to determine the possibilities within the framework of the idea,” he said. “Then comes the engineering of the parts to make sure of its stability concerns. Then, the actual installation. Much is added and changed and progresses as I see how I relate to the work in the space.”
Autorretratoabstractofigurativo3b by Mimian Hsu. Print on paper, 2014.
With that said, the physical construction of an installation, such as the one Feesago’s creating for CGU’s first fall exhibition, Biomythography: Currency Exchange, takes Feesago about two months. But the conceptual mode, he says, can mentally stew for up to half a year. All that work for essentially a one-off—a custom-made installation inspired by the specific conversations around the show, never to be shown again. And yet artists across the world do it, without much caring whether the viewer “gets it.”
“The work I present is more of a question,” Feesago says. “I am more interested in having the work trigger memories, awareness, reflections of their own stories. Did I cause them to remember? Did I cause them to feel? Did I cause them to reevaluate their perspective?”
Biomythography: Currency Exchange, which runs August 29 through September 16 at the East and Peggy Phelps Galleries, is CGU’s first art exhibition for fall 2016.
Feesago will be joined by other emerging, contemporary artists from the United States and Latin America who are creating pieces connected to “biomythography,” a literary term that already has inspired three prior exhibitions. All the exhibitions—including this month’s—were co-curated by CGU alumna Jessica Wimbley (MA, Arts Management, 2013) and Chris Christion, manager of the East and Peggy Phelps Galleries.
And here, there are several points worth pausing for. As CGU’s first installation for 2016-2017, students will see the gallery in its primary context: as a valuable space to showcase their own work, as well the work of established artists outside of Claremont. And then there’s the reality that the Biomythography series—though not something you’ll find trending on Twitter—is gaining traction within art circles. So CGU’s hosting of such an exhibit supports the term’s growing identity and relevance.
“The more exhibitions, programming, and lectures we do,” Wimbley says, “the more Biomythography spreads.”