TEN Ants is the title of an artist exhibition conceived by Valentina Atkinson of Serrano Gallery at Silver Street Studios. The opening reception will be held at Silver Street Studios on Thursday, Feb. 11, 6 – 9 p.m. and the exhibition will run through Sunday Feb. 14.
The ten artists, selected by Atkinson, to participate are not only all tenants of Silver Street, Spring Street, the Silos or Winter Street Studios, but they are also each from a different country. The reference to ants is a play on the word “tenants.” Each artist is involved in some way within the arts community, giving back and making a bigger impact, selflessly, by working with others.
I went to the new exhibition space at Silver Street Studios and met with six of the artists including Atkinson. Atkinson is not a participating artist but referred to affectionately as “The Queen”!
“We are using the ant concept, as the community that works together as a team,” Atkinson explained. “That nothing big is done if it is not made as a team. My husband came up with the name ‘the Ten Ants’, actually, and I said let’s make a show, the Ten Ants. Because also it’s a message to the tenants here that we are privileged, we have many privileges as ants – and I wanted to make a statement, we are ‘ten’ ants; we are not entitled for the walls, we are not entitled for more rights, we are just tenants.”
Kelyne Reis, Brazil/Germany, followed with, “but we can still make it work.”
Work they certainly did.
All the artists participated in some way putting this amazing exhibit together, from lighting installations, marketing, layout and painting of the giant shipping crates that will be used to exhibit the artwork. The crates are used to ship art internationally, and though they were initially chosen to avoid complications of exhibits changing, have become a focal point of the exhibit.
Anita Varadarajuif, India/USA, is an abstract colorist. (I think I just made up a new medium), her work is colorful and plays on form and visual textures. She see the crates as symbolic to TEN Ants.
“The crates are symbolic of how there are really no borders, no boundaries,” Varadarajuif said. “We could go anywhere, our art could reach a lot of people beyond the boundaries and also that each one of us comes from a different country that makes it so much more congruent with the concept of the border-less travel crates.”
Chris Silkwood, representing USA/Australia, is a glass mosaic artist, and she summed up what this show is about quite nicely.
“Valentina just deserves all the kudos on it, because she’s so good at putting this together, and she’s so imaginative and creative and really thinks outside the box,” Silkwood said. “I think the play on the word tenants, that we’re all tenants, but to stretch that to ten ants and the ants signify our busyness, that all of us that are in this show are not only very involved with our own work but we’re very involved in many other ways in the arts, through the community, through volunteering with schools, through other curated exhibits. That’s really important.”
I asked Silkwood if artists were encouraged to create their own work.
“Yes, absolutely,” Silkwood said. “There is no theme to the artwork itself. It’s what best represents that particular artist. But we’ve really collaborated on this in terms of meeting multiple times and sharing ideas on how we want it to go and how we want it to look.”
It is going to look amazing, I am certain of that. Silkwood created several pieces for this show including a red cardinal on a stand that must outweigh me. The opposite side is a woodpecker!
The exhibit includes paintings, digital art, plastics, sculpture, mosaic, jewelry and fabric. The artists are; John Bernhard, Kyong Burke, Luisa Duarte, Justin Garcia, Erik Hagen, Monica Melgar, Kelyne Reis, Mariana Sammartino, Chris Silkwood and Anita Varadarajuif.
A public reception will be held Thursday evening, Feb. 11 and the exhibit will remain on view through Thursday evening 6-9 p.m. Sunday Feb. 14. Set your GPS to 2000 Edwards Houston, Texas 77007 for Silver Street Studios. Find more on TheSerranoGallery on Facebook and www.serranogallery.com
Cohen is the founder and manager of First Saturday Arts Market. Contact him at ArtValet@gmail.com or visit him on the web at ArtValet.com.