Amy Kollar Anderson Identification exhibit at University of Dayton
By CC Hutten
Photo: The making of the installation portion of Identification by Amy Kollar Anderson, on display at University of Dayton’s ArtStreet Studio D Gallery through Feb. 10
Amy Kollar Anderson is known for her colorful, narrative paintings. On Monday, Jan. 13, however, she is entering a whole new realm of interactive artistry at University of Dayton’s ArtStreet Studio D Gallery.
Identification is an entirely new body of work created by Anderson specifically for ArtStreet.
“You will never see ArtStreet taking an existing piece of artwork out there,” said ArtStreet Director Brian DeLuca. “We are always trying to actually reengage artists to come up with new work and install new ideas in our space.”
DeLuca said violence is always present, from trafficking to gun violence on college campuses, in both rural and urban areas, and this display needed to reflect that.
Because January is a tricky month for filling the gallery at ArtStreet – between students traveling and the cold weather – DeLuca said they wanted to feature a local artist in order to draw a larger, local audience. He wanted Anderson in ArtStreet’s winning spot.
DeLuca said there was a blank space in the gallery last May he filled with artwork by Anderson after she inspired a series of “Alice in Wonderland” pieces for the Kettering Theatre.
“That’s when we really saw what her style looked like,” DeLuca said. “The color and character design is fantastic and majestic in her work. […] Amy has a very unique perspective.”
ArtStreet’s social justice and violence awareness theme, “Right Here, Right Now,” is a partnership with the university’s overall theme of “Rites. Rights. Writes.” and the Green Dot Strategy, taking a comprehensive approach to violence prevention and capitalizing on the power of all levels of peer and cultural influence.
The university explained “a green dot is any choice, behavior, word or attitude that promotes safety for everyone and communicates utter intolerance for power-based personal violence in [the] University of Dayton community. A green dot is anything you do to make our community safer.”
So, DeLuca asked Anderson: What could she do with this heavy topic?
Anderson admitted she had to seriously consider what it would mean to leave her comfort zone. In light of his proposition, however, Anderson said she decided she was ready for a change in her work and this was the perfect opportunity to explore and expand her artistry.
“Not only is it a completely different direction, but it includes interactive illustration,” Anderson said. “At first, I had to think about it. I’ve never done anything like this before. But, less than 24 hours after he called me, I decided I totally wanted the challenge.”
DeLuca originally had every intention to be hyper-specific with the display, but he said the way Anderson evolved it was into a much more global conversation, allowing it to address many different areas and forms.
“She plays with these worlds. Rather than work on her illustrator focus, she does something very different,” DeLuca said. “You know Amy Kollar Anderson’s work by her interpretation of the narrative story line; the textures are rich and the colors are bold. […] But Identification contrasts immensely with her work around town. It is much more rooted in naturalism.”
Anderson said Identification uses a muted color palette – like grays and soft blues flecked with subtle metallic – to carefully accent the empathetic connection between faces and people.
“This body of work is very different because there is very little color,” Anderson said. “My work is typically tightly rendered, but this is very abstract and gestural. So, it’s about as opposite as you can get.”
True to its title, the exhibit certainly reflects a message of communal identity that instigates a change in how people may view others and violence.
“It is definitely something that needs to be addressed and talked about,” DeLuca said. And Identification takes the idea of an interactive gallery to a new level of intention.
In addition to viewing the body of artwork during ArtStreet’s regular hours of 8 a.m. to midnight Monday through Friday and noon to midnight Saturday and Sunday, other opportunities to participate in “Right Here, Right Now” will be available throughout the month.
The opening reception will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 21, from 5:30-7 p.m. on the University of Dayton’s campus in ArtStreet Studio D Gallery. For an active discussion, Creative Culture Exchange: Empathy in Action will be held Tuesday, Jan. 28, in ArtStreet Studio B.
Presented with a collaborative piece of Identification, ArtStreet will hold a hands-on workshop on Wednesday, Jan. 29, from 7-9 p.m. in ArtStreet Studio E. The workshop will help launch UD’s Green Dot Strategy, exploring mirror neurons in human’s brains and how they sanction empathy towards others, as well as learning how to “connect the dots.” To register, visit udayton.edu/artstreet/workshops.
Identification by Amy Kollar Anderson will be displayed until Monday, Feb. 10, in the ArtStreet Studio D Gallery. For more information, please visit udayton.edu/artstreet.
Reach DCP freelance writer CC Hutten at CCHutten@DaytonCityPaper.com.