“Clocked Out” Explores The Relationship Between Work and Art
Gay Community Center of Richmond’s Art Gallery is currently exhibiting Clocked Out, a show that features artist who work at Diversity Thrift. The show aims to explore the complexities of being an artist, while maintaining a full-time job, and how this conflict affects their art.
The routine of a 9-5 job is not the only work these artists do, when not punched in for a paycheck, they continue working on their craft. The exhibition’s mission statement aims to express the zeal the artist carries outside of their normal work week. “We, as artists, struggle to balance our day jobs with the passions to create.”
The exhibits mission statement goes on to say that working at Diversity helps inspire their work, “It’s important to work somewhere that’s expressive, inspiring, and oddly unique. The experiences we encounter (at Diversity Thrift) expose us to perspectives that nurture creative thought and give us new ideas.”
Shawn Saharko, a truck driver for Diversity, curated the show whose art is featured in the exhibit. His works are composed of paintings, mostly portraits, including a painting a regular Diversity Thrift patron, Ken Hale. Hale is a vibrant character who comes in everyday to purchase jewelry, according to Saharko.
One of Saharko’s paintings currently featured in the gallery is an interpretation of René Magritte’s, “The Lovers.” A painting of two people locked in an embrace with burlap sacks over their heads. Saharko said Magritte’s piece was a piece about “identity, love, and maybe separation in a way. That’s why I chose this piece for the show, because it has a lot to do with identity and the push and pull of a relationship.”
The pieces in the gallery are made up of different mediums – from sculpture to canvass – and draw from various inspirations in addition to the experience of working at Diversity.
Chris Page, a 2011 VCU Painting and Printmaking major, works as a cashier at the thrift store. The work Page has on display as part of Clocked Out reflects his “secretly rebellious and sneaky” nature according to his artist statement.
Henry Winfiele, Diversity Thrift’s Ass. Manager, stands out with some of the more visually striking pieces from the exhibit. By layering paint over a period of a few months, Winfiele’s work becomes colorful explosions that physically come off the walls entering three-dimensional space.
While the gallery is clearly intended to bolster the LBGT artistic community, GCCR is hoping to attract all artist and their patrons. Bill Harrison, CEO of the GCCR, believes the range of art styles and different kinds of artists reflect that,
“The mission of the gallery has been to support the local LBGT artistic community, however that’s very flexible,” said Bill Harrison, CEO of the GCCR. Harrison said the current line up of artists represented all parts of the sexual spectrum. “We open it up, we like to help the artistic community.” While not all contributing artists to the Richmond Gay Community Foundation’s gallery space identify as a LGBT, they must at least be allies.
“Curating these shows was to open the LBGT community to the larger art scene and vice versa,” said Saharko. “Maybe gather some more crowds that may not have thought of looking at this space for art’s sake.”
The show is expected to run until mid-June and will be open throughout the week, Wednesday to Sunday 9am to 6pm. Admission is free. The Gay community Center of Richmond is located at 1407 Sherwood Avenue, Richmond.
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