Quiet – Walker’s Point Center for the Arts

Quiet. it’s a feeling, a sense, an experience that we cherish in different ways throughout our lives. Quiet is something that I personally find that I have to make space and opportunity for in my life as adult obligations, jobs, politics, technology and the multi-tasking nature of contemporary and urban life compete with it.

Quietude should never be confused with silence for they are most often quite different experiences with different effects upon an individual. It should also be said that, depending upon the individual, quiet can be found in myriad ways and places.

As a child I had secret places to which I would retreat alone, as many kids do, a clearing in the woods was a favorite where I could lay on my back and stare up at the opening between the branches of the huge old oak trees and the sky. I could hear the wind, the distant bullfrogs, the buzzing insects. I could feel and smell the mossy earth and leaves, could feel the grass beneath and around me and I could spend hours there thinking, looking and quietly pondering life. Even in winter I could go there, hearing my own breathing as I lay in the insulating snow around and beneath me.

I also get a sense of quiet when in the studio I lose track of time in that magical combination of both play and work, fueled by intuition, curiosity, repeated action, intense focus and the joy of making.

I find myself drawn to work that is quiet in its power. The experience of sitting in a room of Agnes Martin paintings or Cy Twombly sculptures has given me that sense of quiet power.

All three of the artists in this exhibition rely on quiet or quietude as a source of power in their work. All three artists offer the viewer an opportunity for a contemplative experience far from the madness of the world outside. Not running from it, but offering a refueling so that we might more easily work within it.

Tyler Meuninck’s paintings and drawings rely on the sense of solitude that one feels even in urban environments looking out at spaces not inhabited by other human beings. His palette, mark-making and compositions enhance the experience with their textural blurred focus, as though starring in a relaxed way at something while simultaneously being lost in thought about other things, letting one’s mind wander in a way that creative, and hopefully all minds do.

Kevin Giese’s sculptural work responds directly to and uses materials found in nature, trees, stones, goose down, algae and grasses. His work creates objects that seem to reference landscape, totemic and religious fetish forms and process as well as a reverence for the natural world with his own connection to it that is simultaneously secular and sacred. It also references aspects of his life and experiences, abstracting memories into visually poetic forms that express his connection to and understanding of the natural materials and their source.

Melanie Pankau creates large scale drawings in graphite on mylar that require a great deal of repeated action, mark making, repeated and layered forms creating images that seem to quietly undulate, like breath, in and out. Pankau’s works are influenced by her meditative yoga practice. Her drawings feel at times weightless and other times weighted, and often imply both movement and stillness, light, air, repetition, earthy forms and a sort of spiritual uplifting.

All three artists have an interest in a stillness and quietude, a meditative experience that is not silent or still at all, but actually quite alive and life affirming. It is both a response to and a break from contemporary culture. It is a refueling and regenerating opportunity. Enjoy.

-- Josie Osborne, Curator


Exhibition essay from Quiet at Walker's Point Center for the Arts, July, 2011