Exhibition by regional artists Lorelei Beckstrom, Aaron Graves, Kay Williams Johnson and Chris Sedgwick.
Springs Surreal celebrates the work of four Colorado Springs-based artists, each working within the realms of dreamscape, fantasy, ready-made, and chance. These artists are looking to their Surrealist predecessors and at the same time personalizing and contemporizing the philosophies that defined the movement during its inception during the early 20th century between World Wars I and II, taking form first in literature then in visual arts.
The first Surrealist manifesto was published in 1924, and contained this definition written by painter Andre Breton: “Surrealism, pure psychic automatism by which it is intended to express, either verbally or in writing, the true function of thought. Thought dictated in the absence of all control exerted by reason, and outside all aesthetic or moral preoccupations.” He continued to articulate the movement in 1930, writing, “There is a certain point for the mind from which life and death, the real and the imaginary, the past and the future, the communicable and the incommunicable, the high and the low, cease being perceived as contradictions.” There were two Surrealist schools of thought. One had to do with automatism and chance and is seen in the abstract work of Joan Miró. The other is exemplified by painters such as René Magritte and incorporates recognizable objects and themes taken out of their natural contexts, and combined in scenes that often refer to dreams and fantasy, and conjure universal concepts.
Surrealism’s celebration of imagination and liberation of the creative process remain a vibrant component of contemporary art and sustains a thriving legacy as seen through the work of the four regional artists represented in Springs Surreal. These artists cleverly represent the landscape of the subconscious psyche and natural conflicts between order, chaos, and chance via unexpected materials and subjects, questioning long standing beliefs about art, ourselves, and the world around us – questions that only the viewers can answer for themselves. The subjective experiences imagined by the artists and materialized within the exhibition may be both foreign and familiar, an ongoing fascination with concepts, imagery, and sensations that remain challenging to communicate without the language of visual art.