I went to an art show opening last night that I had work in at COCA in Pioneer Square. When I applied, I sent in photos of my current work that I’ve been making with silver and semi-precious gemstones. But when they accepted me, they requested some of the pieces from my senior project at RISD. I was happy enough to have them displayed, even though I thought it was a bit strange that they wanted work that I made 5 years ago. It was a good work with a strong concept though, and some of my more current work isn’t as conceptual. So I brought in the pieces.
I didn’t think the opening would be a big deal, so I showed up almost an hour late. Fortunately I was right on time because they started the awards presentation soon after I got there. I wasn’t even aware that they were giving out awards. So I was really surprised when they gave me an “honorable mention” award. I didn’t win any cash or anything, but they said some nice things about my work and then everyone congratulated me after. It was really nice.
It was kind of an emotional event for me though, because the pieces I displayed were part of the “Tandem” series I made my senior year of RISD when I started dating Mike. They are hand carved wooden pieces with depth and warmth and great attention to detail. They are all about the spaces between people, and Mike was my muse for most of them and model for all of them. Bringing them out, having them on display, seeing the images I made about them, talking about them to friends and strangers, and being recognized for my concept was all so surreal to me. I didn’t feel sad about it, but I felt very self-reflective and contemplative and bittersweet. It made me want to be 21 years old and in love again.
I’m mostly the same person now, but my life has changed so much. I have a deeper understanding of relationships. Those wooden pieces are a symbol of my past and of a very important relationship to me. However, the context has entirely changed. I have such fond memories of those times. Five years doesn’t seem that long ago, but those specific 5 years from 21 to 26 for me have been completely life changing. Especially the last few months. I’m curious what the next 5 years will bring and how I’ll feel about the work I’m making right now. I’m still so young and have so much to experience.
When I was describing the show to people last week I was saying that it would be kind of a retrospective for me. I was saying this somewhat sarcastically because I feel like I’m just beginning my career and I don’t have much to look back on. But I had no idea how accurate the description “retrospective” would be for me. I have done a lot of retrospecting, introspecting, and prospecting in the last few hours, and feeling lots of feelings. It’s been real.
Click here for more info about the show: https://cocaseattle.org/exhibitions/you-got-the-look
Click here for the entire “Tandem” collection: http://nina-raizel.com/portfolio/#/spring-2014/