We held the last event for Proximities series on Thursday night, February 6, focusing on the last of the trilogy Proximities 3: Import/Explore. The exhibition, curated by Glen Helfand and featuring artists Leslie Shows, Rebeca Bollinger, Imin Yeh, Byron Peters, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, and Amanda Curreri, explores themes of trade, manufacturing, labor, value, and economy just to name a few. These ideas were really encapsulated in the way the curator frames the show, “that almost everyone on the planet touches something that is conceived, mined, manufactured, routed or outsourced in Asia.” This point really made me take pause and think about the work in the exhibition.
It was a great event. Many of the artists from all three exhibitions were in attendance and there was a lot of excitement in the air. The music, provided by Jacob Sperber (P-Play), set the right atmosphere – bright, fun, and dynamic which even compelled a few visitors to even dance. Amidst the conversations, drinks, and a few funky moves, the focal point was the exhibition. Glen Helfand facilitated an in-gallery talk with exhibiting artists Imin Yeh, Rebeca Bollinger, Byron Peters, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, and Amanda Curreri. The gallery was packed intently listening to the discussion, a few attendees mentioned that hearing from the curator and the artists really opened up the exhibition for them.
Another important component for the night was a project by Atelier Dion. Jay and Rie Dion (the husband and wife team behind Atelier Dion), were interested in manufacturing a limited edition tea cup in conjunction with a tea tasting hosted by Song Tea & Ceramics. Initial planning for the project took place a few weeks after Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines. This deadly and heartbreaking disaster made me highly aware of my proximity to the country and the people affected, as well as how the relief effort was also dependent on the same infrastructure that built industry and trade. In light of the typhoon, Jay and Rie were interested in introducing an exchange as a mode of raising donations for the continued relief effort. It became a tea tasting/cup exchange. For a donation participants received a cup for the tasting and would then own. Atelier Dion worked with the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns, whose representatives were on hand to accept the donations directly and provide information about the organization. The hundred cups were sold out before the end of the event. Thanks to the efforts of Atelier Dion and Song Tea & Ceramics, over $700 dollars was raised for the typhoon relief.
The whole evening became a real life confluence of the themes and our proximity to Asia through place and landscape (Proximities 1), people and community (Proximities 2), and trade and commerce (Proximities 3). Catch the exhibition before it closes on February 23. You will be happy you did.
Leave a Reply