Over my many years spent in a gallery environment, recurrently I see how a narrative or ‘story’ embedded in the artwork is an emotional and powerful force that connects the artist and viewer. This is a unique narration without text, narration without a sound, and without the artist-storyteller being present. Mining deeper – when the artist pulls from their own life experiences and uses their personal narrative as well as their hands to craft the work – the resulting piece has a distinct and soulful energy.
The author and neurologist Oliver Sacks spent his life studying the brain and how it deals with perception, individuality, and memory. In his book, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and other Clinical Tales, he wrote, “We have, each of us, a life-story, an inner narrative, whose continuity, whose sense, is our lives. It might be said that each of us constructs and lives, a ‘narrative,’ and that this narrative is us, our identities. If we wish to know about a man, we ask ‘what is his story — his real, inmost story?’ — for each of us is a biography, a story. Each of us is a singular narrative, which is constructed, continually, unconsciously, by, through and in us — through our perceptions, our feelings, our thoughts, our actions; and, not least, our discourse, our spoken narrations. Biologically, physiologically, we are not so different from each other; historically, as narratives — we are each of us unique.”
Included in this exhibition are works expressing personal narrative while engaging larger and broader universal stories. Much like the exquisite corpse parlor game, the artist provides the narrative genesis and the viewer completes the story with their individual experiences.
Director, Penland Gallery
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