Memo of Agreement
Delivery of artwork Friday July 15, 2022
On view Thursday, July 21 – Sunday, September 11, 2022
Artist Reception Thursday, July 21, 5:30-7:30PM
The central focus of Bristol Art Museum’s exhibit Shift is about the way that viewers create cognitive, cultural, and social associations for symbols, imagery, and words, which do not have fixed meanings like we often assume they do.
The artists who have works in Shift are questioning our mutual understanding of visual language, the way we construct ideas about objects, the materials that objects are made of, and the way we embed or assign the sometimes-arbitrary connotations to objects. If viewers are receptive to or respond intuitively to the artwork, they may find themselves questioning the cultural and physical world around us and its meaning.
Additionally, the sculptures on view ask viewers to reconsider the meaning or value of common objects; for instance, if a handgun is encrusted with mussel shells how does that change this symbol of power? Also included are works that could shift our opinions about commonly held beliefs, which in turn could create cultural change. As an example, is it possible for Rhode Island’s Victory Day to be transformed into a different celebration?
Changes to how we understand meanings occur over time; often times these meanings can be dependent on the point of view of the audience. Whether photography, sculpture, jewelry or a participatory story-building activity, this exhibit demonstrates that these ever-changing meanings become more obvious when presented through subtle or distinctive visual language.