A local art gallery is examining the creative process with an exhibit documenting the daily additions artists make to their projects over the course of weeks or months — and, in some cases, over an artist’s entire life.
“Our Daily Rite,” which opened Thursday at the Orange Street gallery ArtSpace, will show the ritual of daily art making until March 24. The show features ongoing projects by local and international artists that will grow even while on display, said ArtSpace Executive Director Helen Kauder, as well as finalized pieces paired with text explaining the steps the artist took to arrive at the work’s conclusion. Conceived and curated by Meredith Miller ART ’03, a photographer at the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the exhibit’s works cover a wide range of media, from daily video and photo installments to developing newspaper collages and a complete wax sculpture assembled piece-by-piece over the course of years.
Miller said her inspiration for the project came from watching friends log daily art projects online. “I think it was through Facebook,” Miller said. “A friend started doing a drawing a day three years ago, and she inspired other friends to work [with her] on that project.”
Miller proposed “Our Daily Rite” to ArtSpace about a year and a half ago, but she said the gallery’s busy schedule could not accommodate the show until now. During the intervening time, Miller said she contacted artists to participate — a total of 12 men and women that Miller found through the Yale School of Art, recommendations by colleagues and, in one case, an Internet search.
That artist was wax sculptor Jamie Davis, who has represented her entire life in her art.
Davis’ long-term project on view serves as a sculptural autobiography. A string of wax paper discs functions as a stacked timeline of all 11,741 days of her life. Davis dyed the discs in varying shades of gray to delineate emotional periods of her life in which she was fighting loss or illness.
While Davis’ piece is complete, other works will continue to grow during their time at ArtSpace. Local artist Rob Rocke will be taking one iPhone photo every day capturing aspects of his daily life, Miller said. She added that Rocke’s project has been an on-again-off-again effort since 2010.
German sketch artist Pia Linz gained an intimate relationship with her work by working from inside it. Miller said she invited Linz to participate after the two met last year while Linz was sketching in Central Park. Every day for a month, Linz climbed inside a Plexiglas polyhedron, Kauder said, drawing intricate designs on the interior depicting the scenes she could see from within it. When viewed from the outside, the piece gives the viewer a mirror image of what the artist could see from within the art itself.
In addition to “Our Daily Rite,” ArtSpace is currently home to a display of recent work by Ithaca, N.Y.-based artist Chris Oliver. An opening reception for both shows will be held tomorrow, Sat. Feb. 11.