Objects of Satisfaction

Vermont Studio Center, Gallery 2, 80 Pearl Street Johnson VT

April 3rd - May 1st , 2016
Artist Reception May 1st, 2-4 pm

Jennifer McCandless,  Circle , hand-built ceramic

Jennifer McCandless, Circle, hand-built ceramic

In 1790, Immanuel Kant released his Critique of Judgment, a groundbreaking philosophical text that attained such influence on aesthetics and modern art that scholars and artists continue to interpret, reference, and debunk it over two hundred years later. For contemporary artists who live and create in the rapidly changing art world, it is remarkable that remnants of Kant’s theories still pulse and punctuate discussions about artistic meaning and experience today.

Situated in this contentious legacy, ArtShape Mammoth along with our Vermont partner, ONE Arts, is proud to present our first exhibition at the Vermont Studio Center this April. Objects of Satisfaction is an exhibition that invites the interpretation of what may be called ‘impossible objects’ and the related mystery of how we experience art. Kant was a philosopher of the ‘play’ between imagination and understanding, and in this spirit the show toys with a Kantian perspective, adding a dash of irreverence and a few subtle jokes for those among us prone to speculate about form, objectivity, and the unique pleasure of beauty. 

Objects of Satisfaction features the work of Ann Barlow, Deborah Bouchette, Cori Champagne, Margaret Coleman, Chris Collins, Katie Grauer, Paul Higham, Marilyn Maddison, Jennifer McCandless, Jessica Mongeon, Rachel Morton, and Christopher Thompson. 

What is the Object of Satisfaction?

Chris Collins,  Circle , found object + copper, 2016

Chris Collins, Circle, found object + copper, 2016

Objects of satisfaction evoke a feeling that, though pronounced, may not be totally understood. It isn’t the nature of such works to call for a rational, categorical, or otherwise measurable response. The show instead strives to exhibit objects that seek an emotional response, a tacit or underlying internal reaction to the art rather than a logical understanding. While an art Object and its aura, traditionally understood, may inspire the viewer to feel a sense of deeper purpose, the Object of Satisfaction has no concrete literal purpose apparent to it. And yet, neither is it a mere indulgence in the realm of random or chance meaning. 

Kant was interested in beauty as something that provokes and enables a unique event of knowledge. The show likewise strives to expand the traditional concept of beauty to include artworks that elicit reactions stemming from a certain place within the viewer. The world of experience is structured and dynamic, and there is an aspect to this phenomenon that cannot be proven but only felt. According to existential philosopher Karl Jaspers, “thinking is the act of relating a given intuition to an object…there is no thinking without an object.” Each piece in the show invites the viewer to feel it, to actively contemplate it, with the idea that by contemplating an aesthetic art object in a free, spontaneous manner, our minds can explore something deeper. There is always more to learn, especially at the intersection of old revolutions and new experiments.
Curated by Margaret Coleman. Much appreciation to Dr. Christopher Yates, Institute for Doctoral Studies in the Visual Arts, for his editorial comments and support on this exhibition.