On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I take strength in contemplating the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Particularly near the end of his life, M.L.K. represented the pinnacle of fortitude, and fortitude is what all peace makers need on a daily basis.
Only days before his assassination, Dr. King in his speech of solidarity to striking garbage workers in Memphis, Tennessee acknowledged the credibility of the current threats on his life. However, he remained selflessly undaunted and inspired the assembled to “stand up straight” in resistance to injustice and violence. M.L.K. was in Memphis to encourage garbage workers to be assertive and proud to wear the tee shirts stenciled with “I am a man” (who deserves a living wage and basic benefits). “When a man’s back is straight, another man cannot ride you.” His words resonated with the crowd then and with me today. Indeed, the Civil Rights Movement that Martin Luther King helped lead rallied against economic injustice, militarism, consumerism as well as racial segregation. Almost five decades have passed since that speech, but the message remains topical. The imperative to “stand up straight” against racism, militarism and capitalistic exploitation is as timely now as it was then.
Oh, if it were only that easy. It is a daily struggle. The fortitude needed to sustain active resistance requires a daily dose of love.
Ken Weir offers unusual paintings for his 4th solo show at the Cooperative Gallery 213 State St. Binghamton February 5-28, with an opening Thursday February 5th 6-9 pm. The Jonestown Massacre, a 7 ½’ x 4’ painting revisits a moment we can never forget. On November 18, 1978 the members of Jim Jones’ religious group, the People’s Temple, committed mass suicide by ingesting a cyanide laced drink under orders from their leader, Jim Jones. The painting shows individuals at various moments of contemplating their drink and their fate. Ken Weir explains, “We’re taught that by taking a pill or drinking a potion, we’ll be healed.” The painting doesn’t present a single story, rather it presents nine stories of nine individuals, trusting, yet bullied into a horrible fate.
Other paintings in the February show, also large, depict a girl painting a rose, a mother and daughter, a daughter and father and in one mysterious scene, a thug, a writer and a singer. This is a painting that foreshadows a murder story with two endings—depicted in two additional paintings. The artist hopes to involve the viewer in the creative process of explaining what he/she sees. Weir says, “Modern art has distanced itself from story while pushing the abstract, the shocking, or the hyper-realistic. By bringing mystery and humanity back into art, I hope to bring the viewers into a conversation with the art.” He continues, “Viewers don’t always know how to talk about a purely abstract design, but they can easily agree or disagree with a story or make up their own.”
Weir studied with Paul Georges at the New York Studio School. Georges was an abstract expressionist turned figurative painter who emphasized the drama possible with figurative art.
The Cooperative Gallery is open during the First Friday Art Walks from 3- 9 pm as well as from 3 to 6 p.m. other Fridays and 12 to 4 p.m. Saturdays and by appointment. For more information, go online to www.cooperativegallery.com.
If you are an artist or a property owner, or know someone who is, please consider participating in the Blight is our Canvas project!
Artists will be creating temporary installments (murals on plywood, sculpture, etc.) to affix to 'blighted' properties (ex. properties with wood panels covering the windows, etc.) with the permission and cooperation of the property owner. The Dept of Public Art has applied for an arts grant from the Chenango Co. Arts Council NYS Decentralization funds. In the proposal, artists will be compensated for their work through the grant, and there is no cost to the property owner to host the pieces - we just ask that they do not remove or cover up the artwork without contacting us.
Our goal is to get public art into neighborhoods and to improve the appearance of blighted properties. Audiences, therefore, include neighborhood residents, local artists who are interested in painting, and property owners who are trying to improve their buildings. The Blight as our Canvas project gives the DPA the opportunity to bring public art to neighborhoods, and especially to neighborhoods that are most economically depressed. It will also give more community artists the opportunity to participate in painting original murals. Some of the BU art students, for instance, were thrilled at the possibility of being able to design and paint a mural for a specific site.
The Dept of Public Art is looking for artists as well as property owners who are interested in the project. Contact the DPA as soon as possible at email@example.com.
The City of Binghamton has issued an RFP-- a call for local artists to design and produce original designs for bike racks around town. Each neighborhood will get its own themed rack. The fee for each is $300 and $1300 to manufacture.
The RFP is attached.
The Composting Council Research and Education Foundation is offering a scholarship for high school students interested in pursuing higher education related to the field of composting. Deadline is Feb 15. See the link below for more information about how to apply.
01/13/2015 - 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Cooperative Gallery 213 State St Binghamton
A meeting of organizers and artists and anyone interested in promoting the local public art scene. We will be looking at properties that could use a mural, or art piece, and also setting time to work on our studio. ALL ARE WELCOME!