Have you ever had that unwelcome experience of being treated differently, simply because of who you are, or what you look like? It has a name, one you may not have heard. Othering refers to that experience, and it is also the name of the Berkshire Art Association’s (BAA) biennial juried show opening at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts on Friday, November 4, 2016.
Othering is defined in this context as perceiving or portraying something as fundamentally different. The BAA sought perspectives reflecting experiences of exclusion, marginalization and separation, dealing in themes of (but not limited to) race, health, religion, class, gender, sexuality, age, (dis)ability and neurodivergence.
Over thirty artists from throughout the Northeast were juried into the show, each with a different perspective on othering. They range from a twenty-year veteran of the U.S. military who served two tours in Iraq to an African-American Pittsfield High School graduate, now studying art at Williams. Artwork featured in Othering includes photography, painting, video, drawing, mixed media, and fiber art.
“The BAA is about bringing the community together through visual art,” said BAA President Danielle Steinmann. “However, we are very aware that there are some artists who feel excluded because society views them as ‘different’ in some way. We chose the theme of ‘Othering’ in order to create a space for these artists to share their work. We hope that the exhibition will encourage viewers to celebrate difference and think about how we can all be more welcoming and inclusive.”
Over a dozen local Berkshire County artists were juried into the show, including Jeanet Ingalls, Stephen Lussier, Carrie Converse, Nate Massari, Jared Gelormino, Katherine Haig, Michael King, Dorothy Martell, Nate Massari, Merudjina Normil, Wilma Rifkin, Joan Rooks, Freya Segal, Marcelene Mosca, and Ilene Spiewak.
Other artists include Julianne Jones, Steve Suzuki, Dina Noto, Azadeh Tajpour, Adina Patroi, Janell O’Rourke, Muriel Angelil, scrap wrenn, Nooshin Rostami, Utsa Hazarika, Joseph Diggs, Jody MacDonald, Thomas Crouch, Aubrey Roemer, Kate Sullivan, Angelina Lin, Jenna Rothstein, Jessica Poser, Amanda Konishi and Penny Santy.
Othering opens Friday, November 4th with a reception from 5pm to 8pm that is free and open to the public. The reception takes place during upstreet Pittsfield’s monthly First Fridays Artswalk. The show will be on display through November 26th at the city-owned Lichtenstein Center for the Arts, located at 28 Renne Avenue in upstreet Pittsfield. Gallery hours are 11am to 4pm, Wednesday through Saturday, and admission is free.
WordXWord is sponsoring a spoken word event on the theme of Othering on Sunday, November 13th and is currently accepting submissions. For more information on participating, visit http://wxw365.org/othering. A panel discussion featuring some of the artists in the show will be held Wednesday, November 16th. Both events will be held at the Lichtenstein Center for the Arts and are free and open to the public.
The mission of the BAA is to connect artists and the community in order to inspire creativity and increase access to the visual arts. For more information about the BAA, visit their website at www.berkshireartassociation.org.