Gallery Update: Dayton Castleman’s Negative Matter

Dayton Castleman’s “Negative Matter” opened up today. I love working in the gallery, because of the people that come through there. There are a number of different agendas, because this is a school gallery in which tours of prospective students are brought through, as well as interested staff and students. And it is very interesting to me to watch people as their ideas and expectations of what should be in the gallery are either met, or confronted. When they are confronted, there are two possible reactions I have noticed: denial and rebellion, or eventual acceptance. And both involve one thing: extreme questioning.

For me, it has always been important to understand (and to make sure I understand in a way that I can explain to others) the artist’s intentions supplied to the best of my abilities. My job is entirely reliant on my ability to read through that artist’s statement, attend that artist’s lecture, and then be able to digest the information provided and bestow it onto someone else. And I will admit, sometimes, that I feel a bit like a salesman. Sometimes there are things in the gallery that I would 100% stand behind and find it easy to defend. And sometimes there are things that I think are complete, um, meschugana, and just have to peddle.

However, I can honestly say, without even any sort of bias, that I love the current exhibition. According to the artist statement provided, it serves to challenge our abilities to perceive, to cause us to question if our sensory experience, specifically of eye sight, hearing and feeling, when contrary to one another, which is real, and which to believe. He makes reference to Anish Kapoor, which I thought was a real strong reference for a school outside of Chicago to get, given our proximity to, and the mainstream popularity of, “the Bean”. I found that when talking to people who typically find themselves on the outskirts of the art world, explaining to them what the Bean does to our sensory experience is something tangible that they can comprehend as a way to solidify what they have just experienced through “Negative Matter” is really “art”.

Anyways, I honestly love the exhibit and concept behind it. Through working at the gallery, in conjunction with viewing the piece myself, I have really been able to see how the piece functions, and the fact that it more than accomplishes the goals the artist has set out for the work.

The exhibit is up now until Thursday, February 24th. M-F from 11-4PM. On Thursday, February 24th there will be a closing Artist Slide Lecture at 6PM, followed by a reception.

Seerveld Gallery is located at 6601 W. College Drive Palos Heights, IL 60463 in the Art and Communications Center.

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