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Curatorial Statement

From disallowing the use of certain symbols and themes, to applying structural restrictions, institutions have often imposed their notions of purity on art. This application of moral and ethical oversight can be recognized everywhere from fascist propaganda to religious decrees to calls for censorship by extremists on the left. Our current political environment is rife with conversations about purity and teeming with disparate moral authorities. Some Americans seem to long for a more pure, less complicated nation – a place where the complexity of diversity and intellectual discourse is looked upon with fear and distrust. Much of the reaction to this closed-mindedness is equally infused with inflexible rhetoric about what is acceptable and what is not. One of the challenges that we face as artists is finding a way to talk about ourselves and our experiences without being forced into stereotypical and unexciting identity narratives.
To challenge notions of purity, we must often navigate an increasingly entangled digital identity. Currently, the flat digital screen has become a new frame for both the restriction and exploration of ideas. Outside forces can manipulate an individual’s identity with increasing ease, and the ability of strangers to instantly edit and add their input to our lives is a growing force. The works in this show display a tense balance between the way that we use objects to define us, and the ways that these same objects take on a transformative power of their own. Highly original and personal narratives are drawn from a muddled cauldron of digitally entangled experiences. This exhibition is a conversation between our digital face and our fleshy reality. Like the tribal artisans of the pagan world, we continue to tell our stories and identify our people through the materials and images that we choose and collect. Using visual mediums as a starting point, these artists craft diamonds of intention, symbolic power, individuality, and uniqueness from sources that are endlessly impure.
Curated by Christian Berman MFA 18 PT and Marisa Adesman MFA 18 PT


Poster, RISD, Gelman Student Gallery


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