Portfolio > In the Eye of the World

Clotilda, 1860
Clotilda, 1860
Wood, cardboard, shells, mirrors and (25:28) soundtrack
113 x 42.5 x 42"

Daphne Arthur

In the Eye of the World

In the 21st century, being witness through media to events and surveyed is as common as breathing air leaves a feeling that there are no real edges between consuming information and lived experience. This exhibition, Daphne Arthur: In the Eye of the World offers viewers an opportunity to shift perspectives and find something to hold onto. In 2006, when Arthur was my student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she was then, as now, a powerful storyteller, able to convey messages about the human experience that move in many directions. Both beautiful and subtle, her stories are compelling, inviting us in as guests and participants. The power of lived experience—the artist’s and the viewer’s—is a touchstone of this exhibition.

Arthur’s work quickly pulls you into another world, a world of realities and complexities that echo personal and collective narratives of past, present and future. Kinesis (2019)—a pensive, staid drama—both desolate and curious, mirrors our own waiting, wandering minds. Her lush and vibrant color layered in as many methods, as she can invent are obvious in a work like Target (2020), which also asks questions of the viewer’s assumptions and implicit biases. This mix of metaphorical and pictorial textures is a hallmark of Arthur’s paintings and assemblages.

Within her practice, Arthur is both experimental and analytic, using realist and surrealist strategies, as well as alternative materials and methods, beyond paint, that require audiences to think through her process. One particularly evocative and enigmatic work Ode to Black (2015)—a dramatic, post-apocalyptic scene, at once familiar, jarring, and delicate—is made from smoke. The transformation of the ephemeral into something concrete is another of the symbolic bases of Arthur’s work. In her sensual compositions she is always playing around and through her personal and our collective memory. The results are alluring and belie their weighty content. In forceful works that draw upon layers of history, methodology and content, Arthur draws you in, and holds you tightly.

Julia Marsh

Guest Curator

In the Eye of the World
On view: March 5th - TBA
Opening Reception and Artist Talk, March 13th, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Cedar Crest College, Center for Visual Research
100 College Drive
Allentown, PA 18104