Art comes in all styles, all forms and all concepts. Many artists ply their trade by creating sometimes fantastical interpretations of the world around them, reinterpreting reality in ways that educate, entertain and enliven both themselves and the viewers of their work. It is the rare creator, however, who can find beauty in the ordinary and, with minimal manipulation, effectively share that beauty with others. An upcoming exhibition at the John Michael Kohler Center for the Arts will highlight the work of two such artists, proving the thesis that beauty Is exist among the mundane, often right under our noses.
“The Extra Ordinary,” which opens Aug. 23 at the Sheboygan Museum, features the work of painter Sarah McEneaney and sculptor Lydia Ricci, two Philadelphia artists who had never worked together or even heard of one. on the other before this exhibition. Yet both capture the beauty and inspiration of the domestic “landscape” within their own lives, according to exhibit curator Laura Bickford.
“The exhibition is part of JMKAC’s ‘Ways of Being,’ a series of exhibitions, programs and performances that explore artists as world-builders who can help us navigate the present, reorient the past and project a viable future,” says Bickford. “It raised the question, ‘What if we found beauty, creativity, potential and possibility in aspects of ordinary life? “”
McEneaney’s nine paintings of his home and studio surround an island of 80 small Ricci sculptures created largely of hoarded paper and cardboard depicting ordinary objects and motifs from the artist’s own life. The small size of the objects allows for close observation and analysis from a safe distance of what are sometimes emotionally charged situations.
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The joint exhibitions represent an artistic conversation between the two artists using contrasting styles to create a single cohesive theme, Bickford says.
“I hope viewers of the exhibition will find renewed joy and inspiration in the ordinary and set new standards and conventions for the objects themselves,” adds Bickford. “The exhibit reminds us that we are in control of our way of life and can find beauty in our surroundings and possessions, as well as a renewed sense of curiosity and pleasure.”
“Sarah McEneaney and Lydia Ricci: The Extra Ordinary” runs from August 23, 2022 through February 26, 2023 at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, 608 New York Ave., Sheboygan. For more information, visit jmkac.org.