Carey Melnichuk visits Tavares Strachan’s exhibition Always, Sometimes, Never at Seattle’s Frye Museum.
I’m not an art expert, nor well versed on the subject. However, I am a connoisseur. And I see passion and dedication when it so clearly presents itself.
Escaping a cold Pacific Northwest evening, we were welcomed by warm attentive staff. The reception was being housed on the other side of the exhibition. Being late in our arrival (something I’m constantly striving to resolve as a personality flaw), we were able to experience the exhibition - though briefly - alone. No reading exhibit descriptions. No listening to explanations.
Tavares Strachan easily encapsulates global sentiment in his work. He uses current and aesthetically bold mediums across nature and tech to highlight a signature fascination with perception, distortion and invisibility. What then, would my experience at Always, Sometimes, Never be?
I fell into it.
I found myself instantly introspective, and thinking about our current cultural and societal state. Who I associate with. Which groups I’m a part of. I thought of other groups, other associations. Just. Kept. Thinking.
With wandering minds we browsed numerous works by Tavares Strachan. I could have easily spent hours at Children’s History of Invisibility. Based on Encyclopedia Britannica, Strachan explores the narrative and biased way in which it is written. A fact which has you consider that it has been the winners which have written history. No matter your age, education, or cultural background - there is much to be taken away from this series.
I met Strachan prior to his commentary to the group in attendance. After speaking for mere minutes, it was clear he is an incredibly humble and passionate artist. Soft-spoken and approachable, I was eager to hear him speak.
During his talk, Strachan advocated the practice of serious play: playful inquiry and innovation methods for complex problem-solving. To maintain curiosity, he avoids taking his work too seriously. With quiet disposition and humour Strachan explained how his various works further his ongoing inquiry into what is possible and impossible. Grand, yet grounded. For example, when asked about the meaning behind the use of specific mediums, he was very blunt in saying that some are used for aesthetic purposes alone.
My experience at Always, Sometimes, Never reminded me that art stretches the mind, and pushes it in places never thought possible. For this, one only needs an open mind.
Tavares Strachan: Always, Sometimes, Never is showing at the Frye Art Museum now through April 15, 2018
About the Frye Art Museum
The Frye Art Museum is a living legacy of visionary patronage and civic responsibility, committed to artistic inquiry and a rich visitor experience. A catalyst for our engagement with contemporary art and artists is the Founding Collection of Charles and Emma Frye, access to which shall always be free.
Photo credits: Us, We, Them by Mark Woods. All others, Carey Melnichuk.