We launched our first virtual exhibit today entitled, "APRIL DRESSED IN ALL ITS TRIM." It's an online exhibition of artwork that explores longing and lyricism, poetry and prose, dormancy and germination, new beginnings and hope. Our guest curator, Paula Owen, was very thoughtful in her selection of the theme––which is inspired by "the lyricism and longing of Shakespeare's Sonnet 98," a nod to April as National Poetry Month––as well as the artists whose work she respects and felt would align well with her curatorial premise. She invited each of them to submit a single work of art that draws its inspiration from Sonnet 98, other poetry, or the poetics of Spring.
The exhibit was set to open on April 2nd, with a reception planned for April 5th. However, as COVID-19 made its international debut in the early months of this year and continued to spread at an alarming rate, we and so many other arts organizations were faced with a difficult decision: cancel or adjust.
For us, the choice was easy. We believe art is good medicine––both the making and the viewing of it––and we’re committed to being a life-positive art resource through this and all times, for our artists, students, the Comfort and Hill Country community, and for each other. No one knows how this story will unfold, but we feel strongly that our purpose in the world is to create and hold space for the joy, beauty, learning, inquiry, imagination, self-awareness, and the power to be present in the moment that making and being with art can bestow. We were unanimous in our decision that the show must go on.
A PERFECT PREMISE
We were also struck by the perfection of Paula's curatorial premise, which she selected long before any of us knew about COVID-19. Yet April Dressed In All Its Trim seems tailor-made for the collective conversation about navigating and transcending the current and future state of the world, as well as the longing many of us feel during our time of separation from friends and loved ones. Some are seeing their dreams stalled by the cancellation of jobs and opportunities. Others are experiencing the loss of home, health, and life. There seem to be many endings and an excess of waiting. Some of us are thriving in this time of unstructured time, breathing more deeply and expanding into this great global pause. Others are overcome by fear and anxiety.
Therein lies the perfection of April Dressed In All Its Trim––artwork about a great unrequited love, an unrestrained longing for what is yet to come and for some, what may never; artwork about nature and our relationship to her, the sprouting and decaying that are required of all life in some form or another; artwork about waiting to become something as yet unknown; artwork by artists who despite not knowing us yet as a gallery, trusted us to incorporate their work into our story of becoming and allowed us to be part of theirs. Had we asked artists to produce work exploring the ethos of transcendence in a global pandemic, it's doubtful we would have received such a broad and well-nuanced story as what is presented in this collection of twenty-one works. There is great beauty and hope underpinning this strange and sometimes ugly part of history, and the lyricism of a natural world that will go on despite our aspirations. Time spent with each of the works in this exhibition reveals a personal story, prayer or pledge to these processes and stages of life, by which we are all connected.
There is a conversation to be had through this work and at this time in history. We invite you to share your thoughts on specific works, artists, the collection as a whole, poetry, or your own story as it relates to the themes of April Dressed In All Its Trim--of longing, hope, or transcendence in the face of the unknown and sometimes unwanted.
– Cara Hines, Managing Partner