New Directions 2017

Barrett Art Center - New Directions ‘17
Juror Statement

Ruth Erickson, Mannion Family Curator, The Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston

As the juror of the Barrett Art Center’s New Directions ’17, I had the pleasure of spending time with the work of more than 600 artists and the distinct honor of selecting the 60 artworks on view. A rare democratic form in the contemporary art world, juries such as this one are like journeys across the country. Traveling through the submitted images, I found myself imaging the artists’ studios—schools, bedrooms, and old industrial buildings—where they carve out space to make their work. I found myself thinking about the myriad decisions that go into making every piece of art and admiring artists’ resolve and ingenuity. I found myself sensing the struggles—personal, political, economic—that accompany being a working artist. The artworks presented here spoke to me. They reflect the care that artists show toward the possibilities and limits of their chosen materials. They propose new ideas, they teach, and they strive to learn. They capture lives that feel distant from my own, and they echo my own intimate experiences. They render palpable the full range and complexity of human emotions. With any curatorial process, I hope to balance my personal preferences with qualities that speak to urgent cultural dialogues. And, above all else, I hope to honor the voices of artists and visitors. It is your commitment to art that matters the most.

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