Quirk Gallery to celebrate LGBTQ art and artists, raise funds for Orlando victims, at new gallery opening
Thursday night the Quirk Gallery will host a reception to celebrate the opening of their new Rainbow Connection Exhibition. The show was co-curated by Ashley Hawkins of Studio Two Three, a local nonprofit community print shop, and features the work of 20 local artists.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the art pieces on display will go to benefit the OneOrlando Fund, a nonprofit established by Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando to support the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
“We were looking for something bright and happy and cheerful that would be fun for the summer and our original thought was to do a rainbow themed show so that every piece would be representative of the rainbow in some way,” said Adam Dorland, general manager of Quirks Gallery. ”But them we just sort of opened it up for people to participate as a way to give back.”
According to Dorland, Quirks Gallery was looking for an emergency summer exhibit after their scheduled show fell through at the same time that the Orlando tragedy occurred. They were inspired to devote their available time and space to the victims and to donate 20 percent of Quirk Gallery’s profits to OneOrlando.
“It was just the first tragedy in a string of really terrible things that have happened in the last couple of months and we just thought that we should do something bigger than ourselves,” Donland said. ”That was fresh in our mind and it’s a cause that’s close to our heart.”
In partnership with Studio Two Three, the Quirk Gallery commissioned local artists to create or donate artwork that related to their theme of rainbows and LGBTQ imagery. As a member of both the gay and artist communities in Richmond, Michael Pierce jumped at the chance to support the victims of Orlando with one of his signature portraits of a rabbit.
“It’s a loaded image that relates to my own sexuality as a gay man,” said Pierce. “People only look at the fact that we have sex with each other and at our best people look at gay people like they do rabbits, as caring, soft, hopeful, sweet, pleasant people.”
The rabbit in question is pictured against a sparkling gold background, with the words “TV was first transmitted in black and white” in French beneath it.
“Just as the image of the rabbit is intended to resonate with the viewer individually and in it’s own ways, in this case a black and white rabbit, so too the title is intended to raise questions with the viewer,” Pierce said.
Though all art is interpretive, some styles require more guesswork than others to divine their meaning. For example, the abstract work of local artist and art teacher at St. Catherine’s School, Diego Sanchez, is not recognizable as part of the LGBTQ theme without first knowing it’s inspiration. The piece, a small painting of white, red and yellow shapes on a blue background, is the third in a series that Sanchez dedicated to the memory of his deceased friend.
“My friend passed away three years ago and her stepson just passed away about a month ago and he was gay so that’s the reason I put the piece in, because it reminds me of him a little bit,” Sanchez said. ”He was very bright and talented and spread joy to whomever he spent time with.”
The Rainbow Connection opening reception will be held Thursday, July 14th from 5-8PM at 207 W. Broad St. The exhibit will be on display at the Quirk Gallery and the artwork available for purchase until August 21st.
“We are all connected, we are all human beings. Regardless of your ethnic background, regardless of your sexual orientation, regardless of your religion, we are all connected,” Sanchez said.
Top image via Brooke Inman
“There’s a lot of different visions and a lot of different goals coming from a lot of places and I think it would be a disservice to the storytelling if I were to shut out some of those opinions.”April 14, 2016
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