Breaking the Rules: Thoughts From The Curator

November 28–December 23, 2018 the main gallery features Breaking The Rules, our core member exhibition, curated by Allison Maria Rodriguez. The opening reception will be held on the SoWa first Friday, December 7 from 6–8 p.m. Additionally, there will be live music and a participatory art project on Saturday, December 8 from 2–4 p.m. In this post, the curator Allison Maria Rodriguez talks about the concept behind the show and some of the work on view.

I wanted to make a political show.  In choosing a theme for this exhibition I could think of nothing other than our current state of affairs, the divided and unstable political context in which we all exist. Given the diverse interests and personalities that make up Fountain Street gallery, alongside the much needed revitalization of activist art in the contemporary art world, I did not want to simply ask everyone to make a piece of political art.

For this exhibition I choose to focus on one of the primary functions of the artist within cultural discourse: the role of the artist as rule breaker. This year’s theme asked each artist to create work that involved the idea of breaking a personal or cultural rule.

In “The Two Worlds” Alexandra Rozenman took a painting of herself created by an ex-admirer and painted over part of the work, challenging notions of privacy, power in gender dynamics, and artistic ownership.  Daniel Zeese’s “Two Orange Brooms” generates uncertainty and mystery around an object that we are so familiar with that it destabilizes language, and throws into question the dominant understanding of domestic space, labor, and sexuality. Sarah Alexander, an artist that customarily creates detailed, intricate, multi-faceted drawing work, decided to move outside her medium completely and learn to work with steel in “Relentless.”

As the artists in this exhibition question their own individual aesthetic and conceptual choices, they simultaneously navigate and breakdown the constructed binary of public/private, personal/political, and internal/external. They generate a space that questions the social role of the artist in regard to establishing and/or challenging the status quo, as well as the artist’s personal relationship to that role within their own art making practice.

Ultimately, Breaking the Rules is an exhibition that examines and celebrates the role of the artist as “rule breaker.”  It pays homage to that tendency in artists to think outside the box and to envision the world differently. Breaking the Rules functions to support and encourage the artistic impulse towards change, divergence, rebelliousness, experimentation, and self-reflection. This is a political show.

- Allison Maria Rodriguez