Abstract art is often presumed to be a direct line into the artist’s psyche, unfettered by the ego or the social identity of the individual. Historically, this definition has proved undoubtedly problematic, yet many artists find that repetitive processes do lull them into a state of mind free of personal interest or traditional definitions of meaning. Artists move at best akwardly through the world of people and social connections, and abstraction can be a respite from these challenges for both the maker and the observer.
For NIAD’s clients, the purpose art serves is no different. Further isolated from the social world by often debilitating mental and physical handicaps, these artists find at NIAD a sanctuary where they are free to express themselves in whatever way makes them most comfortable. They are given a safe space in which to learn to access channels of expression that all artists struggle to open. When the hand and the eye take over, intellect cedes its primacy to the looser priorities of emotion and action. This is an equalizing moment—transcending literacy, language, guile and rationalization. In this exhibition, visiting artists engage in a wordless dialogue with NIAD artists as well as with the audience, with no explanations necessary.
National Institute of Art and Disabilities, Richmond CA. September 5-October 13, 2006. Visiting artists: Kato Jaworski, Laura Paulini, Tiffany Schmierer, Sofie Siegmann. NIAD artists: Phyliss Carr, Felecia Griffin, Tammy Harper, Peter Harris, Willie Harris, Sylvia Fragoso, Tony Pedemonte, Dmetri Petropoulos.