I'm grateful for the opportunity to review this body of art for the exhibition Street Scenes. The visual theme of street scenes has continually been a subject in Western Art. The iconography of street scenes is often thought of as a Modernist theme, exemplified by masterworks such as Gustave Caillebotte Rainy Day (1877), Eduardo Manet Railroad Station(1873), Alfred Stieglitz’s urban photographs of the early twentieth century, Romare Bearden’s mural, The Block (1971) and Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach (1988). It is exciting to see and encounter the range of artistic strategies contemporary artists in this region are using to explore this theme. Today, artists are using the street scene theme to reveal the complexities of everyday life, communal values and personal revelation found in our surroundings and natural environment. Street scenes can reveal the sites where we as humans can investigate formalist and design principles. Upon reviewing the art, the strongest entries were selected, and the following thematic categories became apparent: Buildings, Views, and Landscapes; Movement; Gestures and Moods of the City; Community Rituals; Structure to Abstraction; The “Stuff” of our Space: Collage and Assemblage; and Formalist Contemplations.
Buildings, Views, and Landscapes- These images depict buildings and spatial perspective across naturalistic representation as well as abstract compositions
Gestures and Moods of the City- These compositions offered reflections on nuanced gesture as well as human expression.
Structure to Abstraction- This collection of images transformed everyday aspects of our built environment as a window to consider form, shape, color, and passion.
The “Stuff” of our Space: Collage and Assemblage- This was by far the strongest collection of artwork defined by three-dimensional explorations, introduction of non-traditional materials, and critical commentary on identity in our community.
The artwork selected for this exhibition should offer a myriad of aesthetic entry points to consider how we view our surroundings and what new insights are revealed in re-presenting street scenes.