Visitors to the museum over the next several days will be treated to an opportunity to watch an artist from the Crystal Bridges collection at work! Adonna Khare, the artist who created the ginormous drawing Elephants, currently on view in the Animal Meet Human exhibition, is visiting the museum to create new elements for the artwork: drawing them directly on the walls of the gallery, right before your eyes.
Khare’s work was first featured at Crystal Bridges during the State of the Art exhibition in 2014. She is developing quite a name for herself for her large-scale and intricately detailed drawings of animals, often with a mixture of human characteristics. Elephants, currently on view, is the artwork that re-launched Khare’s career when it won the 2012 Art Prize Grand Rapids. As a busy mom and teacher, Khare had nearly abandoned her art practice at that time, but a friend convinced her to enter the competition and she won! Since then, the work has been on view in several museums around the country, and Adonna’s career has taken off! This year, ArtPrize offered the artwork to Crystal Bridges as a gift.
Often Khare’s artworks include images that carry personal meaning to the artist, as well as messages about conservation and ecology. She has always felt a special kinship with animals. In an interview in 2014, Khare explained it this way:
“Since I was a kid, I could associated with animals. If there was a slumber party, I was the girl playing with the cat as opposed to playing with the other girls. There’s an innocence about animals. There’s a level playing ground with them: they start fresh, they never hold grudges. They are so much a part of this world that we think we’re separated from. A mountain lion doesn’t think it’s separate from the environment and better than it. Animals have the capacity to tell human stories because they don’t have baggage associated with them. I associate more with animals than I do with people sometimes. Sometimes I think that if we were more like some animals, we would probably be better off. They don’t use their environment to the point of destruction. Realistically a lot of these animals will disappear forever. Because of us. Our lack of awareness about the environment—to the point where we just sit back and let mass extinctions happen—to bring them into the forefront and to tell our story is a really important thing.”
These temporary drawings are only on view as long as the artwork itself is on display: through October 31, 2017. After that, Elephants will need to be returned to the vault where it can be protected from light exposure, which is damaging to artworks on paper, and Adonna’s ephemeral additions to the artwork will be gone forever. Guests are welcome to watch Adonna Khare drawing in the gallery; we only ask that you remain quiet and not disturb her while she works.
If you wish to interact with the artist,join us for a Gallery Conversation with Adonna this Friday, August 11, from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Animal Meet Human exhibition gallery!
Did you know that the Crystal Bridges Library has a terrific collection of children’s book? The last row of shelves in the library is chock full of terrific art-based books for young children. Adonna Khare has recommended some of her favorite children’s books to Crystal Bridges’ librarian, and we have added them to our growing collection. You’ll see them displayed on the shelf end-caps. Come up and visit!