(HUDSON, N.Y.) – A Show of Hands, a group exhibition featuring work by 25 artists united around the themes of isolation and connectedness expressed through images of human hands, goes on view at September Gallery on Friday, September 18, and runs through November 1, 2020.
Artists represented in the exhibit include Katherine Bradford, Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, Nell Brookfield, Ashley Norwood Cooper, Karen Dana, Carla Dortic, Fluct + Rita Minissi, Sheree Hovsepian, Anya Kieler, Kathranne Knight, Emily Lacour, Tahnee Lonsdale, Amy Pleasant, Emily Ritz, Kathy Ruttenberg, Giordanne Salley, Carrie Schneider, Shakers, Aaron Skolnick, Eleni Smolen, Allyson Mellberg Taylor, Brittany Tucker, Charles Yuen, and Yulia Zinshtein.
Gallery hours are Friday-Sunday, noon-5pm, and by appointment. SEPTEMBER is located at 449 Warren Street #3, Hudson, N.Y., 12534
The curator’s statement:
Our hands have become the unwitting focus of our attention. We are warned to refrain from touching our own faces and encouraged to wash our hands frequently. We are cautioned to avoid making contact with public surfaces like doorknobs, gas pumps, and pens. We are frequently reminded to socially distance, to not only avoid human contact, but also proximity. Many jobs have transitioned to operating remotely, decreasing our likelihood of being in the same vicinity as others.
Before the pandemic, feeling isolated had been an increasingly common, global condition reaching an all-time high according to the American Psychological Association. The U.K. even appointed a Minister of Loneliness in 2018. This was pre- lock down, quarantine, social distancing, and hands-off navigation of the outside world. In the New Yorker’s “The History of Loneliness,” Jill Lepore writes, “You can live alone without being lonely, and you can be lonely without living alone, but the two are closely tied together, which makes lockdowns, sheltering in place, that much harder to bear.”
The human need for connection is real, and despite the western reverence for privacy, independence and individualism, our bodies and minds cannot deny the necessity for closeness. Our lives, in fact, may depend on it. In her article, “The risks of social isolation,” Amy Novotney writes, “Being connected to others socially is widely considered a fundamental human need—crucial to both well-being and survival.” As cited in “The Epidemic of Loneliness,” by the Aspen Institute, “Millions of people live with sparse human contact and research tells us that lonely people are more likely to become ill.”
Health issues are not the only negative outcome of loneliness. Former Surgeon General Vivek Murphy contends that even political polarization lies within loneliness. When we are separated from one another, gaps of understanding and empathy increase, which then has the potential to fuel division. The increasingly extreme bipartisan climate that we are living in today is perhaps supported by our expanding isolation/ism.
A consequence of the times, most of the works in the exhibition were selected at a distance, not via studio visits, but through the annexes of social media and online research. The subject of isolation and connectedness is expressed through images of human hands lacking, seeking, or achieving contact. The title of the exhibition, A Show of Hands is a demonstration of our shared circumstance, our differing experiences, and our mutual need for connection.