FOCUS: A Better World

Filed in Exhibitions, Past Exhibitions by on June 15, 2019

June 15 – July 7, 2019

Reception: Saturday, June 22, 4 – 6 PM


JUROR: Kristi Arnold, Interdisciplinary Artist

EXHIBITING ARTISTS: Dina Bursztyn, Maxine Davidowitz, Ginnie Gardiner, Bennett Harris Horowitz, Harriet Livathinos, Elin Menzies, Jerry Michalak, Tony Moore, Susanna Ronner and Robert Toyokazu Troxell

WAAM and the Bauhaus both celebrate Centennials this year. Both can be seen as examples of artists banding together to promote the value of art to society in the ongoing effort to create a better world. While dystopian nightmares may out number utopian visions at this point in our history, the works in this exhibition in one way or another embrace a hopeful view of what might come to be. Some of the artists in this exhibition chose to collaborate with others as an example of benefits of working together for common goal.


It’s hard to imagine a better world in its current state. The impending climate crisis and political turmoil, all play a role in a disturbing trajectory that appears will result in a world destined for catastrophe. Pessimism is difficult to avoid. And yet, if only for a moment, joy is found in simple things such as nature and brightly colored, playful shapes. The artworks chosen for A Better World exhibit a sense of whimsy and cheerfulness through vibrant colors and imagery inspired by nature.

Nature has long provided a retreat during challenging sociopolitical times. Bennett Harris Horowitz’s psychedelic landscapes of the Grand Canyon transport us to a place of mystery and beauty. Similarly, Maxine Davidowitz’s colorful swatches of paint and Jerry Michalak’s energetic waterfalls are a reminder that nature is both chaotic and beautiful. The solid forms of Tony Moore’s abstract sculptures suggest a variety of structures, from futuristic homes carved from natural rock to beehives or wasp’s nests. In stark contrast, Harriet Livathinos’s work is atmospheric, quiet and represents the changing skies, but could also serve as aerial maps of ice and flowing water. Taking a more scientific approach, Dina Bursztyn’s work recalls Ernst Haeckel’s lovely scientific illustrations of sea creatures.

While abstraction isn’t natural, its components of form and color, and the creative act itself, are. This mode offers the artists an opportunity to explore emotional content without attachment to the more complicated world at large. Paradoxically, abstraction, through the exploration of materials, can be a respite from worldly concerns, and can open a space for creative exploration that alludes to what can be. For example, Robert Troxell’s ceramic pieces are funky and lighthearted, with overlapping vibrant shapes and joyful patterns. The cut-out shapes of Elin Menzies’ work invoke a sense of longing, as figures set in mysterious landscapes search for something just out of reach. Incorporating a similar collage approach, Susanna Ronner’s monotypes resemble colorful blowing leaves or slivers of grass. Saturated hues of pink, yellow, and blue circles and billowing cloth appear throughout all of Ginnie Gardiner’s work, recalling the sun or the moon on a hot summer day or evening.

Art connects others in ways that words sometimes cannot express. The exhibition A Better World is a celebration of nature, beauty, and whimsy. In this way, the artwork serves as a source of escapism, a reminder that through art, a better world can exist.

– Kristi Arnold

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