“But, we think it’s crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are.” -Breakfast Club, 1985
There is a danger in becoming preoccupied with the past just as there is a danger in ignoring the past. Either makes it difficult to learn from one's successes and failures and improve upon them. At the end of senior year of high school, while there was some regret that part of life was ending, the primary focus was on what would be happening with art, with life, with moving out of your parents' home to go to school. The transition from high school graduate to college graduate was a long one. Now, in some ways, there is always a struggle to somehow recapture the feeling of my senior year. A time where there was a massive output of work and a constant drive to create and experiment.
Artists, like everyone, are in a constant state of flux, from one state to another. An artist's work, like an artist's life is the culmination of everything that has come before and a striving to create something lasting and meaningful before moving on. What if we stop for too long to reflect on our work? Does it mean we’re not getting better?
The purpose of this retrospective is to take a moment to try to understand why we made the art that we did in high school and why we make what we make now. It's difficult to inhabit the people and artists we were when we were younger.
What sparked this submission was a simpler print exchange show where everyone would take a piece of art from several years ago and create a new piece re-interpreting or improving on the original. This ultimately didn't end up coming together but a few years later, Shannon Petty, one of the artists in this show, suggested doing a group show and as it was coming up on 20 years since we had graduated it made sense to me to expand upon the idea of reflecting on and responding to our work from our senior year. Which is what I suggested to her and the other artists involved.
We are I have fortunate to be alive in a time when we can stay in contact with each other--a number of the artists that all graduated from West High School and were in the IB Studio Art program in 1999 and are now in Salt Lake City. It's been fascinating to see we have changed and in what ways we've stayed the same.
Reconnecting has made me aware of what type of person I was in high school and how that is reflected in my work at the time. A retrospective can often indulge in self-aggrandizement and navel-gazing. My hope is that introspection in this case will lead to more engagement with the outside world.
This is a group show of alumni from West High School, graduating in 1999. The artists in this show met in Mr. Steve Case's IB Studio art class and wanted to do a reunion show. Most of the artists live in Salt Lake. They are, by name, John Walton, Thomas Dunford, Shannon Petty, Leah Farrell, Alexandro Melendez, Kevin Dazet, and Doug Day.