Sunday, May 12, 2024

"Thinking Made Visible" @ UAF Museum of the North

A brief recap of the opening + overview of the group show up at the UAF Museum of the North. They closed back on the last Friday of April (4/26/24) for a private event: the opening reception for the new exhibition "Thinking Made Visible," which is gonna run until January. I teased a little bit about this gig when they started promoting the show with some instructional shorts (link here), but it is such an overwhelmingly awesome show it bears repeated visits, so as to catch the many amazing details easily overlooked in a crowd.
...more below the fold...

image Diane R. Hunt

Speaking of video, here's a link to a time-lapse of the installation process, showcasing the astonishing skill + speed (pretty sure they actually do really move that fast) of the folks behind the scenes who put this show on... the gallery itself constitutes a work of art and these artists really know how to put on a show. Special thanks to Tamara, Roger, Cindy and Jonah! As the solemnity of the circumstances dictated I put on a brand-new tshirt from my new favorite cartoon.

I was really humbled to see some of my own stuff right off the bat, second only to a couple doodles from none other than the legend himself, Bob Ross. The case contained a fresh demo done for a class field trip just this past semester, and a couple actual sketchbooks of mine, one of which is open to this infamous image of Otto the Bear using the museum's restroom. No accounting for taste, though it is gratifying to see someone else share my sense of humor.

It get even better, as another display case against the far wall contains both a real Work of Fine Art + Authentic Object of Antiquity: my trusty manpurse of many years. Note the delightful Bill Berry originals featured prominently atop this section of the gallery. In all seriousness though, the peculiar phenomenon of phantom limb syndrome was an experience only slightly less panic-inducing than the existential terror at losing one's smartphone and feeling literally disconnected.

Personally I just love the fact that one of my oft-repeated descriptions (as any student of mine can attest to hearing about in the classroom studio) of what a perfect metaphor for my omnipresent sketchbook represents, that of a mulch-pile. Excerpted from one of audio recordings made from an interview, this particular, er, nugget of wisdom debuted on Ink & Snow as one of the very first posts back in 2009, link here, and is the sole, fitting legacy for my father, who also is also currently contributing to the cosmic compost heap.

This little doodle is from a current sketchbook that documents this each and every time I assume the position for the weekend ritual at the café. Fortunately I have a much smaller emergency bag with just the barest essentials: a ballpoint pen, pencil, eraser, sharpening knife, a few Sharpies, and a couple Microns.

Tucked underneath this section of display cases is another doodle from last year that documented the surreal experience of being the only comparative weirdo seen out in public not surfing their phone. Again, I don't necessarily have to really come up with any ideas, all you need to do is basically just take notes, hence the sketchbook, a repository of eavesdropped nuggets that we are always adrift in a sea of surrounding conversation. 

image Diane R. Hunt

One of the coolest things they made for this show was a couple consoles in the gallery where one can select from a touch-screen menu of almost a hundred different sketchbooks, and virtually flip through their journals to reveal the innermost workings of each respective artist's conceptual processes. Several of mine - judiciously edited - make an appearance, which regular readers have long been habituated to seeing, but a chance to peek about the pages of all these outstanding artists is what's at the heart of this whole exhibit.

Some of us in attendance at the opening reception took advantage of an incredibly oversized wooden work table, breaking in this beautiful centerpiece of the show by doodling away amidst the crowd. Incidentally one of the more notable events of the evening was me was getting into an animated conversation in this area of the gallery, and accidentally bumping into a emergency door, conspicuously flagged with prominent warning signs, setting off a security alarm with my ass. Exhibit “A” in how to clear a room, or at least become the object of everyone’s attention... I'll have to remember (not that I'll ever forget it) this neat little trick at my next opening.

Another neat aspect of the overall exhibit is a selection of recommended books by some of the exhibitors - my contribution comprised of cartooning of course (Lynda Barry, Scott McCloud, the mighty Will Eisner - see here for more resources for aspiring talents and inquisitive readers). Hopefully there will be a series of workshops help on-site in conjunction with some of the in-house talent, like for example a dead hairy animal sessions that I frequently take classes on field trips for... keep y'all posted on any upcoming events

images Diane R. Hunt

SO many wonderful people were there for the opening... for example Mark Ross of Creamer's Field, Elizabeth Eero Irving, Somer Hahm, Klara Maisch and many, many more. As per the usual solipsistic navel-gazing nature of a self-promotional blog, this post might focus on my work, but by no means is that the whole picture, as I’m only sharing the spotlight with the incredible array of other folks from across our creative community, as evidenced by this roster of participating artists. Definitely check out this amazing opportunity at one of the leading educational institutions in the Interior - and yeah, bring your sketchbook









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