As the culmination of the season, each year’s FREE FALL is meant to be a large group show about being an artist, being creative, collaborating, and/or sharing the playful and experimental side of our work. This year that meant a summer long twist on the classic Exquisite Corpse drawing game. Perhaps you played it as a child, drawing a head and neck, folding the paper so your friend cannot see what you drew as they add the arms and chest, after which a third friend in the same way adds the legs. Exquisite Corpse can also be a writing game, where each person adds a line, not knowing what the previous participants have already written. It is always a delightful surprise to see what comes of these blind collaborations. Sometimes the pieces come together in a strange but cohesive way, and other times they seemingly don’t make sense at all, requiring us to look harder, to find the sense, to reframe our initial perceptions and accept what is. It is no wonder Exquisite Corpse games were a regular part of the social gatherings of the Surrealists of the early 20th century, who sought to free the mind from constrictions of rational thought, bringing together and creating a new reality free from the boundaries of societal expectations and assumptions.
Why is such a game pertinent today? Beyond being a fun and creatively enriching game, we live in a time when there is a very vocal and aggressive societal impulse coming from those who cannot look at the world in new ways and find the unfamiliar threatening. As artists we are open to what is there, what we want to see and what we refuse to look away from. We embrace all manifestations of life, love all bodies, encourage self-expression no matter what form it takes. Hate and rejection are based in fear. As we open ourselves up artistically, we contribute our piece and simultaneously let go of what the final picture must or should be. In other words, we leave ourselves open to a future of unlimited possibility.
This show also includes the Second Annual Mail Art Trade/Show. The theme is “Sideshow Slideshow.” A call was put out and whatever arrived here is part of the show. At the end of the show, any folks who asked to participate in the Trade will be mailed another artist’s submission. This year’s submissions came from across the US and 10 different countries, including Turkey, Japan, and Finland. Again, the show is about openness, acceptance and embracing of all that comes our way. Creating, sharing, appreciating. Let’s do these more!
Curator & Creative Director
Red Garage Studio