A common question for artists over the past year has been, “How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work?” and the answers haven’t always been easy to articulate. Beyond the impact on his or other artists’ individual work, however, painter and curator Michael MacMahon wants to embrace the unknown, and celebrate how the art community around him has adapted and evolved over the past year.
It’s this exploration at the heart of Dazzleship, a mixed media exhibition curated by MacMahon for The Umbrella Arts Center Main Gallery, running July 21-Sept. 12.
The name “Dazzleship” comes from dazzle camouflage, a type of naval camouflage meant not to conceal a ship, but to mislead enemy forces about its speed and direction. Just as dazzle camouflage obscures a ship’s trajectory, COVID-19 has made it hard to tell where art is going, both for individual artists and for the community as a whole. To better showcase this, MacMahon selected a variety of different artists in his community to feature in Dazzleship.
When it came to curating the show, MacMahon said, “It was really important to me as a painter...that there’s equity in curating the work that’s out there.” MacMahon did not select artists based on a fixed art medium or how well he knew them, but instead on whether their work interested him. As such, Dazzleship is a smorgasbord of different styles, subject matter, and media ranging from paintings and sculptures to assemblage art and animation. Featured artists include MacMahaon, Michael Zachary, Erin Woodbrey, Julia Czeko, Matt Murphy, Brooke Stewart, Wilhelm Neusser, Gage Delprete, Loretta Park, Maya Erdelyi, Sarah E. Jenkins, Cody Justus, Laura Fischman, and Brent Refsland.
In addition to hosting work in The Umbrella, Dazzleship will feature an experimental animation program curated by Sarah E. Jenkins, in a multimedia collaboration with violinist Sarah Whitney’s interactive classical music series, Beyond the Notes, hosted by The Umbrella Performing Arts on July 31 and Aug. 1.
The exhibition will be on display in The Umbrella Main Gallery, 40 Stow Street, Concord, from July 21 - Sept. 12, 2021. Additional special artist events will be announced at a later date.