IA&A at Hillyer | The Oracle Said ‘Be Still’

By Editorial Team on October 3, 2023

Fri, October 6 2023 — Sun, October 29 2023

Sharon Farmer, Beatrice Fergerson 1, 1991, silver gelatin print; photo: Courtesy of the artist Shamila Chaudhary.
Opening Reception: Friday, October 6 from 6-8pm

“During the height of Covid, I created a print that featured a disembodied head (the ‘oracle’), in which it suggested in a speech bubble that we should ‘be still.’ In that stillness I had hoped that we would all take the time to care for ourselves, reassess our lives and re-focus on the things that are most important.” — Renée Stout

Following the premonition of the “oracle,” Stout chose not to place importance on showcasing the featured artists’ most recent works. Instead, she selected works by the artists that collectively evoke a variety of thoughts, moods, and feelings that can be articulated with words like reflective, wistful, introspective, pensive, playful, forlorn, spiritual, and joyful.

Pondering the works, Stout experienced moments of reverie, solace, escape, and a deep sense of longing for something undefinable. In many instances, the titles of the works offer portals into their own narratives and trajectories. It’s that quiet, undefinable, and elusive thing, simultaneously serendipitous and melancholy, to the point of bittersweetness that Stout was aiming to present to the viewer to muse upon in their own way, to hopefully find some peace within the stillness.

Featured Artists

  • Cheryl Edwards
  • Sharon Farmer
  • Cianne Fragione
  • Adrienne Gaither
  • Elaine Qiu
  • Ellyn Weiss
  • Joyce Wellman
  • Trevor Young

“Attention Surplus Disorder” by solo artist Shamila Chaudhary

The 9/11 attacks gave the US government and Americans a lot to think about. Our government reacted with a forceful response but many citizens did not fully anticipate how a new era of war would reshape what it meant to be an American. Chaudhary saw this up close while working for over a decade in national security jobs in the US government. When she left government in 2011, she created the paintings in this exhibit to explore the impact of two decades of war on America’s sense of self. The exhibit’s title, Attention Surplus Disorder, refers to the disordered state of mind experienced by Americans after 9/11 and the surplus of attention on fear. While Chaudhary has written extensively about these issues, painting offers her a new medium to contemplate them in and presents alternative methods of communicating how war reshapes the way Americans see themselves and others.

IA&A at Hillyer is located at 9 Hillyer Ct NW.