Better Together: Fenix artists find lifeline in liminal space

Better Together: Fenix artists find lifeline in liminal space
BECCA MARTIN-BROWN
bmartin@nwadg.com

Liminal: 1. of, relating to, or situated at a sensory threshold : barely perceptible or capable of eliciting a response

liminal visual stimuli

2: of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition : in-between, transitional

… in the liminal state between life and death.

— Merriam-Webster

The exhibit currently on show at Fenix Arts is titled “Resilient Together: The Artist’s Journey through Liminal Space.” The title was born of a statement by one of the six core artists, Martha Guirl-Phillips:

“We are living in liminal space, a transitory state of being. We stand on the edge of a threshold; we will be leaving one thing and someday will enter something entirely new.”

“In liminal space, we cross a threshold that allows for transformation, the metamorphosis, the shredding, so new growth and change can happen,” adds Jeanne Parham, who organized the “Resilient Together” exhibit for Fenix.

At its heart, the statement reflects the current nature of the world — with the “pause” button of the covid pandemic hanging over everyone’s heads — and also the change that was being wrought on the artists by the formation of their artists’ group.

“The inspiration for this exhibition was the premise behind ‘Part to Whole: The Making of Art, the Artist and the Artist Group,’ an exhibition curated by Rachel Golden and shown at the Roberts Library & Butler Center for Arkansas Studies in June 2019,” explains Parham. “This exhibition featured the work of six artists who had formed the Group of Professional Artists in 2016 in order to remedy an absence of collegial community. What they held in common was a dedication to sustaining a career as a professional artist and a commitment to creating excellent work.

“At the foundation of the group was mutual trust and respect for one another,” Parham goes on. “This environment of honest critique encouraged experimentation and new directions. The culmination of exploring how one part of work inspires the whole was profoundly evident in ‘Part to Whole’ and the forward thinking, exquisitely rendered work which seemed to share a common thread. Driving home from Little Rock and still dazzled by what I saw, I began to think about doing something similar in Northwest Arkansas with an equally serious and committed group of artists. I reached out to six artists in our area — Cindy Arsaga, Laurie Foster, Danielle Hatch, Pat Hennon, Aimee Papazian and Guirl-Phillips — and shared the premise behind this group exhibition. Each committed to the process of really opening their artistic lives to one another and to the time that would be required.

“Looking back, it felt like providence when a few short months into this endeavor we all sheltered at home due to the pandemic,” Parham says. “It seemed ironic that the artists in this group had consciously made the decision to move away from the isolation that is so common to how artists work.

“I believe you will see in ‘Resilient Together’ the stunning result of their shared experience.”

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FAQ

‘Resilient Together’

WHEN — 3-7 p.m. Friday; noon-7 p.m. Saturday, through Sept. 25

WHERE — Fenix Arts, 150 Skyline Drive, Millar Lodge at Mount Sequoyah, Fayetteville

COST — Free

INFO — fenixfayettevilleart. com

Categories: Galleries