HYDE PARK — The Hyde Park Art Center has prodded 26 emerging artists for six months to create innovative new work.
On Saturday, the fruits of that prodding go up on exhibit.
“When I walk around I see 26 peers who have worked with each other and pushed each other in really great ways,” Mike Nourse, director of education at the 5020 S. Cornell Ave. art center, said of results of the Center Program.
Now in its second year, the program gives 26 artists space to work and a clear deadline to work towards. They are charged with producing work that diverges from their normal practice. There are also monthly workshops with professional artists, critics and gallerists to hone the work.
“It’s a lot like brainstorming sessions,” Nourse said as he passed a series of three paintings by Hyde Park muralist Astrid Fuller depicting a woman struggling with a child among figures with animal heads.
“What she’s tried to do with us is get into canvasses that address her experience in social work,” Nourse said, pointing out the image of a single grandmother with two children among representations of drug dealers and half-human politicians. “I found these really stunning because of the stories of her work — that’s her trying to stop fighting.”
An opening reception for the “Front and Center” exhibit will be held from 3-5 p.m. Saturday at the Hyde Park Art Center
The pieces include paintings, photography, sculpture, and other installations, including intersecting ladders that force visitors to walk under them and confront superstitions about bad luck.
“I tend to walk in one way and walk out the other way in the hopes it will cancel out,” Nourse said.
The exhibit will be on display through Sept. 21.