'Seasons of Self,' A Self-Portrait Exhibition Featuring 40 Artists, Opens at Negative Space Gallery This Saturday

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click to enlarge "The Awakening" - Anastasia Lausen
Anastasia Lausen
"The Awakening"

Showcasing work by 40 artists, 'Seasons of Self,' which opens at Negative Space this Saturday with a reception from 6 to 9 p.m, shows those artists, in self depiction, reflecting upon themselves during the height of the pandemic when most people were forced into seclusion.

“I was doodling self-portraits (which I never do) at the beginning of the year,” said 28-year-old curator and long-time resident artist at Negative Space Tessa LeBaron. “I think I was trying to remind myself of who I was while going through the effects of the pandemic. I had this idea to put together a show. I felt like everyone else needed an opportunity to express themselves in response to the pandemic as well. More than anything, we need togetherness after going through a stressful time of isolation and Negative Space has always been a multi-sensory platform for getting all walks of life in the same place.”

Negative Space Gallery has a history of being active in the local community, hosting a variety of events like their monthly Sketch Night and Open Mic Night when they invite people of all walks of life to engage with the space. Owner Gadi Zamir, who was born and raised in Jerusalem, aims to offer a safe place for creatives to engage with an audience and express themselves openly. He also hosts summer classes with local inner city school kids to teach them about how art can enrich their lives.

The exhibition is filled with interesting pieces, including "The Awakening" by international artist Anastasia Lausen, which depicts her face shrouded in floral patterns and colors that seem to represent blue skies, along with a burning sun with swaths of orange-reds, ambers and pinks. Her face looks on with a thousand-yard stare and a Mona Lisa-like smirk. She says the pandemic has had less of an effect on her as the current sociopolitical climate in the region.

“I'm originally from Russia, I migrated to Czech Republic in 2008,” said Lausen. “Times have always been hard for us Russians, now, as you might know, we are in war with Ukraine. My dearest friends in Ukraine and their families are in danger any minute. Looking back now, I feel like pandemic was nothing in comparison to what's happening today. It will definitely affect me as a person and as an artist.”

LeBaron purposely invited artists who work in a variety of mediums to participate in the show to offer a variety of forms of self-expression for the viewer to interact with. She wanted to encourage people to try to connect with their pieces and meditate on how the pandemic influenced our self-perceptions during this historic time period.

“I want viewers, through these different art mediums, to reflect on how they themselves felt throughout the pandemic,” said LeBaron. “This exhibit is about self-reflection and expressing yourself through some of the most challenging times in recent history.”

The exhibition is free and open to the public, and Negative Space will simultaneously be hosting their monthly open mic night in the main gallery. LeBaron adds that she hopes the exhibition offers a space for reconnection, reflection and healing from the stress and isolation many people have felt over the past couple of years.

“The ego and concept of self are dynamic things changing every day,” said LeBaron. “I hope people are inspired to stay creative through the uncertainty.”
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