DECLARATIONS: OUR MESSAGE TO THE WORLD at COD’s Marks Art Center: October 7 - 31, 2013
College of the Desert’s Marks Art Center
presents a collaborative student exhibition of photography and mixed media
works entitled "Declarations: Our Messages to the World," October 7 -
31, 2013. An artists’ reception will be
held Wednesday, October 16, from 5:00-7:00 p.m.; free and open to the public,
the reception will also feature a do-it-yourself craft table provided by The
Coachella Valley Art Scene, light refreshments, and musical entertainment by
Las Feas, a local all-girl surf-punk band.
The reception will be followed by the monthly Cup of Happy Open Mic,
7:30-9:30 p.m., a SafeHouse of the Desert event that is also free and open to
the public. Alongside
"Declarations," the COD Alumni Gallery within the Marks Art Center
will feature a selection of contemporary vanitas works by current students,
artworks that explore the fleeting nature of earthly life and happiness,
investigating the idea that, in the end, “all is vanity.”
Declarations" is an opportunity for community
engagement and meaningful communication, intended by the students as a forum
for call and response, and visitors are invited to add their own “declaration”
to the community wall in the exhibition space.
The exhibition is the extraordinary product of a unique opportunity in
which students had to collaborate and work together in order to conceive,
execute, and install an exhibit in a short period of time and with limited
resources. From brainstorming about a
concept to producing and installing the artwork, this creative exercise in
cooperation and compromise unified a group of diverse individuals around a
shared vision of expression. The
proposition: if given one simple piece of cardboard to communicate a message to
the world, what would that message be?
Each answered the call in radically different ways:
personal poetry, inspirational passages, reflections on aesthetics and
history. Using recycled cardboard—a
disposable material used for the roadside statements of the unemployed and
disenfranchised—each student produced a personal visual message that transforms
this iconography of desperation into a declaration of values, some humorous,
some serious, all meaningful. The
tactile immediacy of the cardboard is tantalizing, raising questions about
social status and our visual environment.
We are confronted daily by a barrage of visual noise filled with
advertising and a slogan competing for our attention; but a hand-lettered
cardboard sign has the potential to cut through the clutter, at least
momentarily. The cardboard sign may be
the most accessible means of public expression, but is also vulnerable to the
elements, physical and social, that render it fleeting. This ephemeral quality creates a provocative
tension with the intentions of the artists here—these students want to make
their voices heard and their messages last, through interaction with viewers
who witness the powerful individual portraits in the exhibition and who are
influenced by the written words. Carefully
composed photographs capture each sign, held by its creator, declaring: here I
am, this is my statement to the world.
Visitors can study the messages individually or consider them as a
whole, and respond in kind. An essential
component of the exhibition is the opportunity for interaction—each visitor is
invited to speak back, to add his/her own declaration to the display using
supplies provided by the students.
The Marks Art Center is always free and open to the
public, Monday-Thursday, 11:00-4:00 p.m., and by appointment; for more information,
please call (760) 776-7278, or check online at www.collegeofthedesert.edu/community/gallery or http://www.facebook.com/marks.artcenter">www.facebook.com/marks.artcenter>.