Art show will span 4 generations

Published 10:00 am Sunday, September 20, 2015

I am looking at a picture of … I haven’t a clue.

Art Is… by Bev Jackson Cotter

The picture is on a postcard advertising the next show at the Albert Lea Art Center. The exhibition promises to be one of those experiences that you question, wonder about and then talk about for a long time because it lingers in your thoughts.

Bev Jackson Cotter

Bev Jackson Cotter

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“Our Mothers and Daughters: Four Generations of Artwork” will be on display today through Oct. 17 at the Art Center. You must stop in for an unusual and inspiring experience.

When I said that I haven’t a clue what the picture is about, that statement is only partly true. I love looking at abstract art. I first question what it means to me, then wonder what it meant to the artist, and then wonder if the meaning really matters. It’s unusual; it causes me to think outside of my comfort zone and it helps me to realize that different people see different meanings in art, as in life.

The picture includes a green line that curves up and around somewhat like a maze puzzle that you might find on the children’s page of a newspaper. Then there is a deep spot of purple with its edges blended and blurred with the surrounding white. Other colored areas surround a drawing of a little duck floating on purple waves. It’s a happy duck, content with its location in the middle of a variety of spots and lines.

I’m guessing that if you were to give copies of this painting to students in a classroom of any age or a group of children or adults in almost any setting, you would have as many stories about it as there were people in the room. I can just see the looks on their faces — smiling, puzzled, questioning, enjoying, maybe serious — and I’d love to be a mouse in the corner listening to the conversations that would take place.

Abstract art ranks right up there with new images on my computer screen. My thoughts go something like this, “Oh great, here we go again. Why do they keep updating? Why can’t those computer geeks leave well enough alone? I was just getting used to the old format.”

Art is the same way. I love the old format — beautiful scenery, still life pictures, portraits, and florals; real life — but I enjoy the stretching that abstract art requires. There are times when my comfort zone could use expanding and creativity with no borders encourages expansion.

This is your opportunity to step outside your restricting borders. In this show, the four generations of Bailey artists — daughter, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother — are sharing art as they understand it, art that they feel is central to their growth as women.

The paintings, sculptures, drawings, collages, mosaics, film and photography of Carli Marticia Bailey, Rachel Bailey Collier, Marticia Davis Bailey and Rachel Marticia Davis promise to take you to another level of art understanding.

I loved this statement from the promotional information provided by the family, “Art, for us, is a process. It’s something we do, not something we make. It’s a way of processing the world and ourselves — we don’t set out to paint a tree or a barn, it’s more organic than that … The values that are central to our family are creativity and self-expression.”

How wonderful that this family has found the common thread that unites the generations, and how fortunate we are to share it with them.


Bev Jackson Cotter is a member of the Albert Lea Art Center, 226 W. Clark St. in Albert Lea.