SGCI 2015: Sphere Overview

P1100763Cannonball Press‘s Inflatable Sphere marked events around town.

One last look back at Sphere reveal a conference that was well organized and note-worthy in a number of ways. The range of amazing speakers including, Red Grooms with Bud Shark & Andy Saftel (below), Hideki Kimura, Ruth Weisberg, Sarah Suzuki, and the talented, Walter Jule. Despite the Thomas Klipper’s inexplicably denied visa by the US State Department, there was no shortage of great talk to attend.

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The quantity and quality of related exhibitions were also quite inspiring. Above is an image from the Lift: Contemporary Printmaking in the Third Dimension reception at the Knoxville Museum of Art; a great show of 3-D Printmaking. And not including the exchange portfolios there were easily well over 20 exhibitions during the conference, a full list can be seen here. The Prints in Peculiar Places and Prints in the Public Sphere were welcome additions creating space for work intended to intervene outside the white box.

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 Typically the conference hosted many more excellent exchange portfolios than there were white walls in Knoxville, that said, the work work on display superseded the limits of the display spaces available.

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There was the expected range of compelling talks and panel discussions, most of which were well attended and generating more conversation in their wake. Two that deserve special attention were, the Queering the Sphere: Exploring Divergent Practices organized by Guen Montgomery, with presentations by Montgomery , Anna WagnerCorinne Teed, and Jill AnnieMargaret. All of the speakers (above) gave a great series of presentations that were compelling, critical, and vulnerable in turn. Also, Noel W. Anderson organized a panel titled, Printing Beyond the Blackness Principle: The necessity of Multiple Subjectivities within Black Masculine Discourse. Anderson, brought himself, Andrea Ferber and Leslie Smith III (below) into an unconventionally informal conversation that troubled the expectations of the audience and drew us all into a wider conversation about the art world, the canon, and the expectations of audience, critic, and artist in relation to race. A trickster by nature, Anderson created a space for discourse that was sprawling and wisely, posed as many questions as it answered.

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The SGCI Members Exchange Portfolio was impressive in it’s diversity and the scope of participants.

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And let’s end this post with an image of Dancing Ink by Sukenya Best, a daring dance-based print performance. A good example of the many projects this year that went far beyond traditional notions of printmaking. In the end the most memorable aspect of this conference was the range of artwork and ideas put into play, add that to growing diversity of the make-up of our community – it all points an exciting future for the SGCI.

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Hope to see you all in Portland!

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