The way ya' make me fee-el...Shea Hembrey's got mojo

When I started this blog, I said I would muse and long over garden, style, plants, and good.  Here's to the "good" apect:

Arkansas native Shea Hembrey, a 30-something artist who never viewed an art museum until in his 20s, ambitiously "became" 100 artists of distinct fable and craft to present his own personal international biennial, entitled Seek.  Seek was conceived as a response to Hembrey's dissatisfaction with contemporary art, claiming that even at the major shows, work was (a) too obtuse, and thus not yet fully fluent and resolved by the artist, and (b) often lacking exquisite technique.  So, in part as a middle finger waving across the Atlantic from Arkansas, and in part a clever homage, Hembrey set out to generate not merely 100 pieces of art, but to generate complete narratives for 100 artists and make and install art, utilizing media as varied as the contrived artists themselves.  These artists hale from all over the planet and their artistic goals and interests span a wide spectrum of visual art.   Hembrey's two criteria were that he could explain each piece to his "Mamaw" in under 5 minutes (pretty erudite Mamaw) and that each piece was driven by head (important/interesting ideas), heart (passionate and evocative), and hand (was expertly crafted).

When Hembrey describes this intrepid undertaking, he humorously and casually circumvents talking about the sheer chutzpah and brilliance of it all, including that he's infused each piece with the distinctive character, the singular materials and form of the personage whom he created to make the art, and done so with impressive aplomb.  Instead, he modestly chalks his plucky enterprise up to being easier than contacting and organizing 100 other artists.  By the way, Shea uses his momma and daddy as models and guinea pigs for many of the pieces.  One of my favorites is by an East Tennessee native who is interested in the formation of cultural rites and sets forth to implement "Death Jigs" among local Tennesseans.  Hembrey's family were enlisted to inculcate this rite by coercing locals to start jigging and celebrating at the site where they will be buried, making the spot a place of celebration in their personal narrative.

Inspired is not the word for how this virtuosity makes me feel.  Sheer joy...unadulterated delight...childlike wonder that somebody just DID this--and did so with such eclat.  He just thought about it and did it ...creativity at work, y'all.  Check it out:


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