When longtime VACI Partner Subagh Singh Khalsa heard this year’s VACI Partners’ members open exhibition would be made of abstract works focusing on the concepts of patterns and repetition, he saw the opportunity to have a little fun.
Khalsa, a woodworker, created an abstract cabinet triptych and challenged himself to use the smallest amount of repetition possible in the design.
“I call the thing, ‘Don’t Make Me Repeat Myself’ — something I got from my mother,” he said. “It was a really fun project just trying to avoid all the repetition that normally occurs in furniture.”
Khalsa is one of more than 20 VACI Partners with work in “Patterns and Repetitions: New Abstract Works by VACI Members,” opening with a reception at 3 p.m. Thursday, August 1 in the Fowler-Kellogg Art Center. All active VACI Partners were invited to submit works for the show, which runs until Aug. 21. In the first week of the exhibition, gallery visitors will have the chance to vote on which pieces should receive one of two $500 prizes, which will be awarded to the artists on Aug. 9.
This is the first year the exhibition is centered around a theme. Artist Judy Gregory said this adds an exciting element to the show.
“It will be interesting to see what people, who would be normally painting landscapes, will come up with for this abstract pattern theme,” she said.
Gregory, a current VACI Partner and former president of Visual Arts at Chautauqua’s predecessor, Chautauqua Center for the Visual Arts, has been creating abstract works for decades. She will feature two hanging pieces in the show made from handmade paper and used teabags.
Gregory considers the shadows cast by these translucent, tapestry-like works part of the pieces themselves.
“The whole idea of abstraction, I think, has a lot to do with transparency and transformation and shadow-casting, because you can interpret them in different ways,” Gregory said. “An abstraction is an idea, a theory, (something) you can’t actually put into a concrete shape or figure.”
For some VACI Partners, like Khalsa, this show is the only time all year they exhibit their art.
“I don’t show my work in other places, so it’s always been a great opportunity to just to be out there,” he said. “As a result, I’ve sold a bunch and I’ve got a number of commissions.”
Khalsa said the show is an opportunity for Chautauquans to discover their neighbors’ hidden talents.
“I’m always amazed to find out the finely-honed talents some people have that I never even knew were working in the arts,” he said. “I think it’s a really nice community builder … for both the artists and the viewers.”