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Looking at Deaf art: online is informative but real is powerful

August 11, 2015

“Bell School, 1944” as seen in “Deaf Heritage.” (Used with permission)

You’ve seen this image before, haven’t you? It’s on page 129 of Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America by Jack R. Gannon. That’s the first page of the entry on Betty G. Miller, and it’s one of the most well-known paintings she’s created. But if all you’ve seen is a photo like this online, or in the pages of a book, you’re missing out. In the book it’s only 5″ square, and this online version is only 500 pixels square, and it’s in black and white. In reality, though, it’s a large color painting.

Betty G. Miller standing in front of her painting,

Betty G. Miller standing in front of her painting, “Bell School, 1944.”

Here’s a photo of Betty taken with the painting which gives you an idea of the actual color and size. Surprised?

Nothing beats real

It’s true that in this internet-driven world most of us only see art on the screen, and before the ‘net, we mostly saw it in art books. The image may grab our attention. We may like it, or even love it. But it isn’t real. Real artwork has power. When you see the real thing, it draws you into the experience and makes you feel. Sometimes you recognize that feeling because it mirrors your own experience. If it doesn’t, then it probably opens your eyes to how someone else experiences the world, someone different from you. And that’s a good thing.

Let There Be Light: De^ARTivism

An art show begins this week in DC. It’s being held at the Pepco Edison Gallery, 702 Eighth Street, NW, WDC, 20068. I’ve been working to create a digital catalog of art show, and it’s going to be very powerful. It’s called Let There Be Light: De^ARTivism. Yes, that’s a new word. As exhibit curator Ellen Mansfield writes in her statement:

… [defined] the term artivist as an “…(artist + activist) who uses her artistic talents to fight and struggle against injustice and oppression— by any medium necessary.” … Thus, we have coined the term “De^ARTivism” to represent De’VIA artists who take a stand, and we use the caret (^) instead of the apostrophe (‘) to mimic the sign for “STAND.” (De’VIA, short for Deaf View/Image Art, is art created when the artist intends express ideas and feelings about the experience of being deaf.)

Two of Betty’s paintings will be there, Bell School, 1944, and a neon called Frazzled. They are just two of around 80 artworks! Please come to see and feel the power of original art. The gallery hours are limited (12 noon to 4 PM, Tuesday through Friday), so come to the receptions.

The opening reception is Wednesday, August 12, 2015  from 5 to 8 PM.

The closing reception is Wednesday, September 2, 2015  from 5 to 8 PM.

See you there!

~~Nancy C.

I’m on Instagram as purpleswirlarts. I’ll be in DC all week because I’m joining a group of Deaf artists represented in this show in a retreat. I plan to post photos using the hashtag: #D^A so follow me and see what’s happening.

Also, for more information on everything about the show, see:

 UPDATE Tuesday, August 18:

Between trouble getting online (I’ve an iPod Touch, not a phone), a busy week, and plain old exhaustion, I’m behind in my Instagram postings. I’ll catch up, just after the fact.

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