On the Surface

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See video coverage of “On the Surface”

In January 2020, the Attleboro Arts Museum posted a national call-for-artists requesting original responses to the theme On the Surface.

When issuing an exhibition prompt to artists throughout the United States I’ve come to learn that only the juicy will do. Themes for national shows must have traction.  They should inspire the beautifully straightforward, the courageously personal, the ingenious. 

Juror Neal Walsh, a practicing artist and gallery director for AS220 in Providence, RI, combed through each work submitted for On the Surface and ultimately selected 115 pieces created by 106 artists spanning 32 states. Walsh was also tasked with choosing six pieces that resonated deeply and recognizing those works with Juror’s Awards. You’ll find the deserving award-winners sprinkled throughout the exhibition.

On the Surface offers lovely, shocking, and intimate expressions that contend with the literal and figurative prickly points of life.  These works prove that viewing art, whether in-gallery or online, is a gift.  Decades of research suggest that art can improve moods, reduce pain, and even create a feeling that is similar to falling in love.  These days, I think we’d all welcome those positive sensations.    

I present this virtual edition of On the Surface as I would when curating an exhibition in the Attleboro Arts Museum’s Ottmar Gallery.  Works are arranged to complement each other and to heighten the impact of their neighbor through their size, shape, palette or conceptual strategy. The words of the artist accompany each piece, and all exhibitors are to be commended for their meaningful dialogue. 

Enjoy your time experiencing On the Surface.

Mim Brooks Fawcett

Executive Director and Chief Curator

View the Exhibition

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Image: Skin (detail) by Kelly Devitt

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