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Mythologies of Memory: Jennifer Ollikainen, Neil Cain and Kipp Normand
Great and lasting artworks should be ambiguous and tap into the stories and myths humans have used for centuries to explain the world and themselves. Our mythologies are mirrors. Mythologies of Memory, featuring Indiana-based artists Jennifer Ollikainen, Neil Cain and Kipp Normand, looks back and ahead while providing a window into both the real and imagined through familiar mediums and genres filled with icons, symbols and colors.
New Harmony has long influenced these artists and their work. As part of the Social Alchemy project in partnership with Indianapolis-based Big Car Collaborative, this exhibition taps into the history, existing art and architecture that has made the town a destination while also feeding the creative energy of so many artists and intellectuals for centuries. Mythologies of Memory will open Saturday, October 10, 2020.
Ollikainen says, “To make masks is to take part in an ancient and rich human tradition. Masks provide a meaningful way for humans to connect with each other, with nature, and also with the unseen realms of spirit. Combined with storytelling, ceremony and ritual, masks have the capacity to fill the spiritual and cultural voids in our modern lives. I strive to use this artform as a tool for connection. I hope to spark wonderment and imagination within the viewer, perhaps allowing them to remember something special they have forgotten. I also see my practice as an opportunity to aid in our collective remembrance of shared histories as a means of reimagining what it is to be human.” Utilizing fabric along with a variety of materials, Ollikainen creates soft sculpture environments, fabricates wearable masks and costumes that come alive through performance and video art — telling stories and creating a dialogue with the viewer.
Cain’s oil paintings are a reaction to what he views as a consciousness bias in our culture towards ordered states of being and thinking. “This bias,” says Cain, “contributes to individualistic resource management, social division, and centralized state control. The artist must counteract these forces by presenting harmonious alternatives. I paint to present the beauty of ordered and non-ordered states interacting. I see each as integral to the full expression of the other and essential to true understanding.”
Normand’s cyanotypes are a new medium for this artist and historian. His art is a physical and conceptual investigation into the power of objects and images as a narrative device. Inspired by the Dada traditions of assemblage, collage, construction, and performance, Normand employs the acts of appropriation, reuse, and recontextualization to explore contemporary perceptions of time, community, and memory.
The Social Alchemy project is a multifaceted, multiyear, interdisciplinary project in partnership with Big Car Collaborative, University of Southern Indiana, Historic New Harmony, New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art, Working Men’s Institute and Indiana State Museum. This project explores historical and contemporary examples of utopian experiments, fictional utopias and dystopias and social design projects. It offers a deeper understanding of the relationship between the built environment and social good. For more information on the Social Alchemy project visit: https://www.bigcar.org/project/utopia/.
This exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts Council of Southwestern Indiana and the Indiana Arts Commission, which receives support from the State of Indiana and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art is an outreach partner of the University of Southern Indiana. The gallery is located at 506 Main Street in New Harmony, Indiana. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information, call 812/682-3156 or go to www.usi.edu/nhgallery.
The exhibition is free and open to the public.
If interested in purchasing work from this exhibition, please call (812) 682-3156 or email Senior Gallery Associate, Tonya Lance, at email@example.com. Purchases may be made over the phone via Credit or Debit card. Shipping on purchases is available for additional cost. Any work purchased will remain on display until the end of the exhibition.