Photo of Ven Voisey by Howard Romero
MCLA Gallery 51 will continue its series of solo exhibitions by local artists with "VS.," which will open at a reception held in conjunction with the kickoff celebration of DownStreet Art 2012, on Thursday, June 28, 6-9 p.m.
According to artist Ven Voisey, his vision for the show was influenced by his personal and cultural frustrations and conflicts. The artwork - which includes a wide range of works, such as drawing, sculpture, photography, sound video and installation - is intended as a playful mode of communication through which Voisey explores complicated themes.
"It has to do with the difficult relationship between humans, our desires, and our own circumstances - communication, dilution, control, spirituality, sex, gender, value," Voisey said. "The work seeks out truths as complex and conflicted outcomes, versus easy-to-sum-up, polarized blips."
In creating his art, Voisey works with each idea until he determines how best to translate it. "So much of artwork to me is a battle. It might be an internal battle or conversations I have with friends that I tend to be inspired by."
Various "ship and whale" pieces he's been working on evolved from specific relationships.
"Sometimes I'm a model and am posed by other people. It ends up being this kind of interesting take on perspective and the battle and the characters that we play, and the constant shifting of the roles that we're engaging in," he explained.
A slideshow of photographs entitled "The Ship and the Whale," features a rotating cast of individuals wearing a ship and a whale mask carrying on with domestic activity.
"We're all ships or whales at one point or another," Voisey said. "While eating dinner, doing the dishes, watching television or brushing our teeth, we're battling, wrestling, embracing, passionately seeking, dominating, retaliating - sometimes it's difficult to discern which is the primary action."
Generally, Voisey's work is conceptually driven. "Although I have a background working in sound and sculpture, and I like working with space to create an environment rather than just making an object. I don't favor any particular medium."
The manager of MCLA Gallery 51 for nearly four years, Voisey's work is well-known throughout the region. Most recently, his art was included in the deCordova Biennial at deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park in Lincoln, Mass.
This is Voisey's final exhibition as the gallery's manager as he was awarded a year-long residency in the Roswell Artist-in-Residence program in Roswell, N.M., where he will head in January 2013.
"I will miss North Adams," Voisey said. "It's become a place very special place for me, but I'm also looking forward to what's next. Regardless, I doubt the Berkshires have seen the last of me," he said.
"VS." runs through July 22. MCLA Gallery 51 and DownStreet Art are programs of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. MCLA Gallery 51 is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Gallery at 413-664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/gallery51 .