Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blind artist in Portland, Ore., creates fully accessible art, performance exhibit from artists with and without disabilities.

From  A Somewhat Secret Place:

PORTLAND, Oregon -- There are very few people who walk through life without some form of oppression. A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art, an art project has a show A Somewhat Secret Place scheduled in July, which illuminates this in a unique and vibrant way.

Catherine J.H. Miller (pictured), artist and curator, has put together a show at PRESENTspace gallery that will provide a window to this broad terrain of human life.

Using Braille, ASL interpretors and descriptors, this will be the most accessible art show in Portland. The Oregon Women’s Caucus of Art is a major supporter of this because it explores the intersection of contemporary art and disability, and proves the art world can be made inclusive.

The centerpiece of this project is an art show featuring 28 works of art including paintings, sculpture, literature and performance art created by artists with and without disabilities.

A writer's workshop, artist talks, literary readings, an ADA celebration event, and activities for young audiences will be included. There will be elements of hipness, humor and cutting edge art.

Ms. Miller, who is legally blind, speaks with a passion and enthusiasm that is infectious.

Following the exhibit, she will create a book featuring the artists and works in the exhibition and offer her theories on contemporary arts and disability.

Ms. Miller says, "The book and the exhibition are not the product, or art object, of my project. Art is something less tangible and more powerful. The 'art' is the conversation that the visitors and readers will have in the gallery space and beyond. It is the interaction between the arts communities, the disability communities, and the wider community around words like 'disability art', 'disability pride art', and un-named areas of artistic practice."

Heather Zinger’s photography project Endure will be shown, which was inspired by her sister’s struggle with MS. The artist tied a a skeleton to herself for one week to make the burden of living with a chronic illness visible.

Carmen Papalia will show many pieces, including a video where he navigated an urban space with a 14 foot mobility cane. Yulia Arakelyn will perform a wheelchair dance.

Artists Emelia & Jody Ramey, authors of The Autistics’ Guide to Dating, will present new essays.

National and regional artists will show and read work that is imbued in some way with the the “not so secret” sense that we are all fragile and resilient at the same time.

Currently, Ms. Miller is seeking support for the project through Kickstarter.com the largest online pledging source for artists. To purchase tickets to the pre-opening party and support this project please visit: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/owca/a-somewhat-secret-place.

Ms. Miller was born and raised here in Portland and is a 2008 graduate of the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Her work with this show will have lasting and national impact on how art can be presented.

A Somewhat Secret Place: Disability and Art exhibition will take place at PRESENTspace, 939 NW Glisan in the Portland Pearl district from July 7th through July 30th 2011.