Gilded Pear explores Framework in their second juried art exhibit

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Opening Reception: Framework

Gilded Pear Gallery — Friday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.

The notion of Framework frames the new juried exhibition at the Gilded Pear Gallery in the Cedar Rapids Med Quarter District (808 3rd Ave. S.E.).

Lauren Tucci, gallery assistant and inventory manager, is the coordinator of the show. She says the framework theme arose as waters rose in Cedar Rapids in September 2016.

“As a non-native Iowan, I was blown away at the community that exists here in Cedar Rapids. Last year, flood waters were on the rise and the city was making preparations for major damages. I had not experienced the flood of 2008, however, the outpouring of aid and comradery that was displayed made such an impact on me,” Tucci explained. “The idea of Framework was inspired by how individuals responded to this potential natural disaster and what framework became for individuals as well as the community as a whole. People were rallying around businesses and residents, to preserve these structures and in turn portrayed a moral framework that I’ve never seen.”

Juan “Erman” Gonzalez’s ‘Estuvimos Hablando.’ — photo courtesy of Gilded Pear.

Tucci didn’t want artists to have too limited a focus, however.

“The call to artists did not elaborate on the flood since I wanted the exhibition to be open for interpretation,” she said, “In lieu of receiving artwork revolving around ‘water’ and ‘flood,’ I wanted to give the artists the ability to comment on the definition of framework in the way their work already speaks.”

To select the artwork submitted from around the country, Gilded Pear turned to Kristina Fjellman, a fiber artist, sculptor and painter from Minneapolis. The broad theme offered Fjellman some challenges.

“Because it was so open to interpretation, I initially just looked for pieces that I had a gut reaction to (either good or bad) or some sort of strong response that made me want to look at the work further,” Fjellman said. “That first, purely subjective, view was helpful in the subsequent views of all the work in how the artist fit in the theme (or not), and how the work might start to work as cohesive show.”

Cohesion was important to her, but so was diversity of artistic endeavor.

“I also wanted to include artists working in unusual mediums that challenged my perception of the theme. We all have materials or colors, subject matter, etc. that we tend to gravitate towards, and I wanted to make sure those internal biases weren’t influencing my decision, so I did choose some pieces that I respect or admire more than I like. The end result is quite a mix,” she said.

Eighteen artists are represented in the show. Tucci admires all of the selected art, but has favorites.

“If I had to mention one, it’s probably Erman’s Estuvimos Hablando — a piece that comes to us from Miami, Florida. I was so pleased he was able to send us the piece in the first place, since Hurricane Irma had taken her toll on that area,” Tucci said. “Estuvimos Hablando was created with fabrics and a repurposed frame from his mother’s estate. She had passed away from Alzheimer’s and age-related illness and the imagery includes two chairs in a green space, facing each other growing into trees.

‘Dangle,’ by Matthew Eames. — photo courtesy of Gilded Pear

Another work appeals to her, as well.

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Dangle, by Matthew Eames, really transforms the space it exists in. Primarily in ceramic and metal, this work is to be experienced in person to really feel the tension in the suspended ‘brick.’”

This is the second year the gallery has hosted a juried exhibition. The theme and juror are different, and that will continue to be the case in the future. That variety is important to what Tucci is hoping to accomplish.

“This helps to bring fresh works to the area and draw the attention of artists from across the country, showcasing Iowa’s growing art culture,” Tucci says, “and hopefully, the fact that there’s a lot more to Iowa than just corn.”

Framework, which opened Oct. 13, continues through Nov. 24. There will be an opening reception for the show on Friday, Oct. 20 at 5 p.m.

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