Face it

UD’s ArtStreet exhibition makes fear less scary

By Gary Spencer

Photo: Krista Franklin, FEAR collage

Fear is a strong emotion, to be sure. It causes most humans to take drastic actions to avoid that thing that they fear, or to avoid that emotion to begin with. The University of Dayton’s ArtStreet has decided to take these notions and focus an art exhibit on this concept, simply entitled FEAR. It features works by the university’s Institute for Arts Nexus. According to ArtStreet Director Brian LaDuca, the FEAR exhibition is a piece of a longer, overarching artistic concept.

FEAR is part three of six of our inaugural IAN installation series—a year long series of 4D installations that look at the macro concepts of ‘Climate’,” LaDuca explains. “FEAR is what occurs within climate design, be it sustainability, energy, political, religious … when your want and needs for a ‘thirst’ move towards having and ‘consumption’—when it is all gone or you never got it … that is what FEAR is. It is a direct continuation of the CONSUMPTION [exhibition]. When one installation opens within the first two weeks of its appearance the next intended installation begins to phase into it. FEAR has slowly been encroaching into CONSUMPTION for the past three weeks [like it] did the same with THIRST prior. In this case FEAR is turning the capitalistic vision of CONSUMPTION into a sludge filled place of war, flight, and social activism through collage and poem.”

To achieve this daring amalgamation of visual art and poetry, ArtStreet enlisted the help of Krista Franklin, a Gem City native now living in Chicago who has achieved a great deal of national success as an artist and poet.

“This is the first time that I have worked with UD and ArtStreet,” Franklin says. “Brian LaDuca was searching online for artists to work with on this year’s series of installations and stumbled on my name and work during a Google search and contacted me to see if I would be interested in working on the project. When we connected we were both delighted because he is from Chicago and currently lives and works in Dayton, and I am from Dayton and currently live and work in Chicago, so it was meant to be.”

Franklin was then appointed to the Creative Lead for the FEAR installation and in collaboration with UD students, began brainstorming the artwork that will be filling ArtStreet’s White Box Gallery for this exhibition as it makes its transition from IAN’s current installation theme.

“Our goal as Lead Artists is to try to break apart or envision what these large ideas may be and ways they manifest in our society,” says Franklin. “It is a big conceptual undertaking as an artist to take on a word or idea and develop it into a visual interpretation. The students at UD have also had a hand in developing the installations through interactive gestures such as contributing their own personal needs, wants and fears that appeared quite literally in different parts of the exhibitions of THIRST and CONSUMPTION.  Their words were written on material that hung in the gallery and on a couple of the walls in the space as well. Since I’m building on what’s already present in the gallery, it’s more about adding or subtracting images and ideas than it is particular or specific ‘pieces.’”

As for what LaDuca and Franklin want attendees to take away from the FEAR exhibition, the optimum end result is multi-fold.

“It’s my belief that the point of art in any space is to generate critical thinking, to engender deeper understanding to the varied and dynamic conditions of being human on this planet, to inspire vision and to make both internal connections and external connections,” Franklin says. “My hope is that attendees of the FEAR exhibition are inspired to take note and recognize the myriad ways in which we generate, foster, feed and populate fear in our daily lives with ourselves and others, and through this recognition and noticing, begin to strategize ways to combat fear in our personal and societal lives. FEAR is an invitation to transform our nation. Look at where we are, look at what we’re doing to ourselves and others. How do we stop this? How do we do battle with and eliminate fear for ourselves and others? How do we make this world a less fearful place to be?”

“As a global entity hell-bent on wants, needs, usage, bandwidth, etc., we will eventually run out,” adds LaDuca. “And even scarier, there are clusters of society and populations that never had. This is what happens when things are taken away or run out—the natural human reaction is become combative, to respond to change with great fear—that is the vision of FEAR.”

ArtStreet’s FEAR exhibition runs through Dec. 17 at the White Box Gallery located at the corner of Lawnview and Kiefaber on the University of Dayton campus. The gallery is open 8 a.m.-midnight Monday through Friday and noon-midnight Saturday and Sunday. For more information call 937.229.5101 or visit udayton.edu/artstreet.

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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