Raleigh Fine Arts Society
2020 North Carolina Artists Exhibition
Nat Trotman, Juror
This year’s North Carolina Artists Exhibition brings together a diverse, multigenerational group of nearly sixty North Carolina artists, each of whom is committed to speaking truth to the era in which we live. Many would say that these are difficult times, and it should come as little surprise that we find a sense of urgency among the works gathered here. Drawn from a record number of submissions—more than 1500—these works are provocative, powerful, and profound. Many of them ponder issues of mortality or speak to the daily struggle to simply, sustainably exist: what we might call the matter of life and death.
I kept this phrase in mind as I chose the works for this exhibition, and nearly every painting, sculpture, photograph, video, performance, work on paper, and textile on view here relates to it in some way. Several themes run through the selection. First, there are artworks that conjure feelings of physical or psychological fragmentation. Focusing on the body and its relation to materials like fabric, paper, ash, or ice, they invoke a sense of memory and explore processes of disappearance. Other works deal with what will never disappear, incorporating rubbish, refuse, or the Earth itself with a deep awareness of humanity’s impact on our environment. Many of the pieces in this show also examine social systems, confronting the often inequitable power that institutions—from global commodity markets to the insurance industry to the prison-industrial complex—hold over our lives, and highlighting the histories of violence that lie in their shadows. And finally, there are the works of artists who stand proud in the face of adversity and claim space for those whose voices may not otherwise be heard, privileging moments of contemplation, calmness, and dignity.
For all their different viewpoints and approaches, the artists in this exhibition are unified in their desire to bring moments of grace and beauty into the world. They celebrate the core of what it means to be human: creating connections despite differences, fostering joy in times of pain, and extolling the glorious complexities of life itself. After all, it is through art that we can find a respite from the world’s troubles, a moment of calm in the ongoing storm of reality. We can foster new spaces for empathy, reflection, and conversation. We can gain critical perspective on our problems and collectively imagine new solutions. I hope that the 2020 North Carolina Artists Exhibition offers such an experience.
-Nat Trotman, Curator of Performance and Media at the Guggenheim Museum, NY
The art in the exhibition is for sale with 70% of sales returned to the artist and 30% returned to the Raleigh Fine Arts Society to support exhibition expenses. All information regarding the sale of art work can be found at http://bit.ly/NCArtistsExhibition.
AV Metro • Themeworks • RAD Graphics • The Hartfield Foundation • Beth + Steve Robinson • Studio TK • The Mohawk Group • Ella Ann and Frank B. Holding Foundation • Lewis R. Holding Fund of the NC Community Foundation • SureVest Insurance Group • Robert P. Holding Foundation • CAM/now • The ARTiculators • The Betty Eichenberger Adams Society
CAM’s education and community programs are funded by The Goodnight Education Foundation and United Arts of Raleigh and Wake County. Museum Access for Kids is funded by the Carolina Hurricanes Kids N’ Communities Foundation. CAM’s Spanish Language Initiative is funded in part by Bank of America. Accessibility initiatives are funded in part by The Jandy Ammons Foundation. The CAM to GO Initiative is funded in part by The Asha and Sajjan Agarwal Foundation.