Prism Studios has opened its inaugural art exhibition and you should see it: Arts: Smile Politely

I first met Kayte Newhouse of Prism Studios at their Paint at Your Pace Open House at the Independent Media Center. Now, nine months later, Prism is back at IMC to co-host its first annual exhibition. It pleases me to see that Prism has not only survived its birth in the midst of the pandemic, but continues to grow in community engagement and impact.

After this open day, I wrote this:

“By introducing a prism into your view, you separate white light into a spectrum of colors. You can also clarify or complicate your point of view. Prism Studios, the new female- and gay-owned arts initiative focused on the Inclusion, diversity, and creativity, does both. Prism, and the artists who founded it, are a refreshing blend of revolution and refuge, part Bob Ross, part lowbrow pop surrealism. from which they take their name, they transform the fear of the blank canvas into an explosion of color and self-expression.”

After having lived Retrieve, it’s clear that a community art exhibit is the obvious next step in Prism’s art-for-all mission. It is bold and diverse in every sense of the word. It is greater than the sum of its parts, as a community art exhibit should be.

Retrieve features works by KTKannibal (Prism’s own Newhouse), Joshua Doniek, Law Welle, Chris Reme, Darin Doty, Cindy Blair Sampson, former smile politely local theater critic and playwright KT Burke, Matt Wiley, beloved author and illustrator My cat is depressed and photographer Freya Replinger. The walls of the IMC gallery are literally exploding with color, filling almost every inch of the space with creative energy.

The installation of Darin Doty’s work alongside Cindy Blair Sampson’s breathtaking goth girl creates a dialogue between the artists themselves as well as with the viewers.

Photo by Debra Domal.

I arrived at the IMC shortly after 6pm on a Tuesday evening and experienced both the luxury and the disappointment of having an exhibit all to myself. Both this space and this work deserve attention.

Law Welle, like the rest of the artists of Retrieve, brought dynamism to the space and launched invitations to connect and converse via QR codes. So charge your phone and be sure to bring it to fully experience the work and interact with the artists.

A series of multicolored and multi-sized paintings on the central wall with other works on the right and left side walls.
Photo by Debra Domal.

Joshua Doniek’s 2D and 3D creations always bring drama and imagination (remember Diva of the most recent exhibition Those Who Teach) and I was so excited to see them here.

A series of paintings and sculptures covering two walls.
Photo by Debra Domal.

One of the benefits of a community exhibit is discovering new and emerging artists. Chris Reme’s work is available as a magnet at a very affordable price.

On the left is a piano and in the center is a series of magnets and footprints on a square pillar.
Photo by Debra Domal.

3D was the name of the game for several artists, including the immensely talented KTKannibal.

Photo by Debra Domal.

Illustrator Matt Wiley gives us an insight into the development of The light witches world. And you can take home a piece of this unique universe for a hellish price.

Two framed prints on a square pillar.
Photo by Debra Domal.

Freya Replinger’s photography ranges from realism to expressionism and illustrates the emotional value that digital techniques can add. There’s a lot of stuff there, and throughout the exhibit, that you’ll want, and maybe be able to afford, to take home and live with.

Close up of a framed and mounted digital photograph.
Photo by Debra Domal.

KT Burke’s work, which is imbued with the artist’s storytelling skills, does not shy away from the dark. For this reviewer, these pieces evoked thoughts of darkness as a place of stillness, reflection, mourning and, ultimately, healing.

A series of paintings in dark tones on a central wall.
Photo by Debra Domal.

The IMC gallery space is an extension of its mission. It is accessible and welcoming for artists of all levels. And in that, it’s well-suited as co-host and venue for Prism’s first annual Expo. There’s a clear DIY vibe that may put off those who prefer professional gallery installations. But this perfectly imperfect space speaks well of Prism’s art-for-all mission. It provides a space for new and experienced artists to show (and sell) side by side and learn from each other. And, perhaps most importantly, it takes art out of the rarefied ether and brings it to the community.

Newhouse wrote that Recovery: Clarity in the community, is about “coming together after the long winter and reconnecting with nature and with each other to find clarity in community.” Like so many things Prism Studios does, Retrieve encourages artists and viewers to reconnect with the warmth of community, the spark of creativity and the glimmer of hope.

Recovery: Clarity in the community
Until June 12
Closing reception: June 12, 2-5 p.m.
Independent Media Center
202 S Broadway, Suite #1
Opening hours: T-Thurs, 5 p.m.-8 p.m. F-Sun, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.

Connect with Prism Studios on Facebook, Instagram or their website.

Top photo by Debra Domal.

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