1708 Gallery to feature live exquisite corpse mural work during Oct. First Friday

by | Oct 2, 2014 | ART

1708 Gallery is getting in touch with its Surrealist side this month with a new exhibition–Exquisite Corpse.

1708 Gallery is getting in touch with its Surrealist side this month with a new exhibition–Exquisite Corpse.

The exhibition opens for a preview reception this evening at 5 pm, and will continue through November 1. It features pieces created by Richmond artists and others using the exquisite corpse method, as well as the live painting of a mural-sized exquisite corpse by artists Genesis Chapman, Rosemary Jesionowski, and Michael Pierce.

Exquisite corpse, originally a chance-based parlor game, began with the Surrealist movement as a way for artists to explore the idea of a collective unconscious.

The game requires that artists collaborate on art pieces without seeing each others’ portions of the work. For this month’s exhibition at 1708, over 50 artists were organized into groups of three and have been working since June to produce collaborative pieces.

“[We want] people to enjoy themselves and appreciate the quality and the skill and the imagination and creativity that all of the drawings and the wall-based drawing convey,” said Emily Smith, Executive Director at 1708 Gallery.

Smith also hopes the exhibition will give gallery visitors a first-hand art history lesson. “The exquisite corpse game was a real part of our history, and a part of the Surrealists, and central to their thoughts, actions, and philosophy,” she said.

Consistent with the Surrealist tradition, each artist completed a portion of the drawing before covering it up and passing it along to the next artist. Smith says, “Artists with very different styles and aesthetics are combining their own personal and formal interests into [each] finished drawing [without] seeing what other[s] have created.”

A live painting in this style begins tonight inside 1708 Gallery as artist Genesis Chapman works on the first portion of a three-part exquisite corpse mural. Without being able to see Chapman’s work, Rosemary Jesionowski will paint the next portion during the First Fridays reception. On Saturday, artist Michael Pierce will finish the final part of the mural with the two previous sections covered. 1708 will then reveal the completed exquisite corpse.

Smith explains that some artists worked in styles familiar to them, while others pushed outside of their normal methods. She says, “[This] speaks to the hope that the artists are having fun doing it, too–that it’s enjoyable and they had a good time.”

The exhibition showcases some seriously exquisite corpses–each work is a unique and imaginative collaboration. Smith says, “We’ve been really really excited and pleased with what’s resulted.” She adds, “Some of the [art pieces] are really funny, some of them are really beautiful, and I’ve been really pleased about that.”

Check out the live mural work starting tonight at 5 PM – 1708 Gallery @ 319 W Broad St.

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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