F R A G I L E
/’frajel / adjective; (of a person) not strong or sturdy, delicate and vulnerable
In complex times, a cultural unease is sometimes palpable. With uncertainty and upheaval, many respond in anger or resignation; others respond from within, acknowledging fear and finding the strength it offers. This exhibition features 24 regionally and nationally recognized contemporary artists responding to the concept of fragility in so many aspects of American and global life. From small rural towns to industrial cities to Hollywood, people talk about their sensitivity to the news, their elevated state of anxiety over things happening around us and far from us. This state of disbelief and frustration is now giving birth to positive change: the Parkland, Florida students and their engaging opposition to the NRA semi automatic weapon policies; the overwhelming number of young women joining local political arenas; the stigma of sexual assault being lifted through the ‘Me Too’ Movement. FRAGILE references many arenas: environmental, political, and social injustice, but also the fragility of a moment in time, fleeting ethereal beauty and the appreciation of what we have this very minute.
Margaret Jacobs, a member of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe and Dartmouth graduate, explores the aftermath of the Standing Rock movement in her Survival Medicine steel sculpture series. New Hampshire artist, Lia Rothstein, backlights pigment prints of pond grasses on Japanese Kozo paper in her Subsurface series.
Environmental artist, Gowri Savoor, draws our attention to our oak forests in My Acorn, My Oak, a three foot wall construction of acorns. On a smaller but just as powerful side of things, the encaustic collages of Athena Tasiopoulous employ vintage photos of women in the 1800’s; figures in limbo between the past and the present. Perhaps the idea for this exhibition can be summarized by Athena’s artist statement: “Our strength lies within our ability to be vulnerable and embrace the fragility of existence. Healing does not occur unless we confront pain. We cannot appreciate compassion until we accept weakness and learn trust. Life becomes sacred when we recognize its impermanence.”