Energy is all. According to the Book of Genesis, the creation began in a burst of pure energy – light. According to Einstein, energy is the source of all matter, and convertible with it. According to most artists, creative energy – an inner force – is the motivation of their lives. In the studio artists transform creative energy into material expression. For this exhibition artists were encouraged to submit works that celebrate the concept or force of energy in its broadest connotations or in its most focused denotations. The resulting show and catalogue indeed are a reflection of the range and depth of the submitted works.
As juror I surveyed all of the nearly 1,500 submissions in a wide array of media – among them painting, sculpture, drawing, prints, video – and assembled groupings of works that seemed to have a notable affinity with one another, whether stylistic, formal, conceptual, or thematic. My intent was to build a show – not to eliminate submissions – from the pool of resources that artists put forth in their pursuit to reveal OCCCA's chosen exhibition theme of energy.
Many, many artists created abstract works that seemed to evoke a cosmic source of primordial, original energy, often represented as a glow or burst of light in a nebulous field of darker color.
Many others made abstract compositions that seemed to pulse with an animate life force, writhing and restless. Quite a few artists proffered abstract visual fields of startling visual energy – patterns, stripes, grids – not obviously connoting cosmic or vital forces but that exist for their own formal excitement. And a very sizeable contingent of representational artists depicted landscapes featuring the indelible imprint of industrial energy production in our daily environment, in the form of power plants, telephone and electrical poles, street lights, and strip mines. All of these are amply represented in the exhibition.
I thank all the artists who participated in this annual juried show by submitting their works for consideration, and I especially commend the artists whose works are included in the limited exhibition space. It would have been possible to have made a very different looking – and equally engaging – exhibition from the works submitted; in the end I chose a diverse collection of works that seemed to my eye to desire to be in one another's company.
Howard N. Fox, juror