Amie Potsic lived in San Francisco for many years and found when she moved back to Philadelphia that she had missed experiencing the changes of the seasons. As a world traveler, the photographer shoots pictures everyday and found the relationship of taking pictures at home, where she grew up, can feel fresh and new. For three years Amie took pictures everyday going through the seasons and began to see the Asian influences of her travels in the photographs of Philadelphia trees.
The exhibit, curated by Butch Cordora at Ven and Vaida Art & Jewelry, for the first time gathers images representing all four seasons in one show. The effect is sublime with groupings of images throughout the gallery communicating the beauty of the Philadelphia landscape and how trees can express an underlying narrative. One day the artist saw a protest in Rittenhouse Square that was against the Chinese government torturing people for practicing a religion called Falun Gong and brought the ideas and the esthetics together in a subtle combination of traditional beauty and clever protest.
The collection of images has grown over time Amie Potsic says, “It’s interesting, this is the closure of the project where I now have the four images per season and each season deals with a particular issues.” Important social issues like reproductive rights, religious freedom, censorship and working conditions that we can discuss openly in America but are suppressed by the Chinese leadership. “I think it’s interesting, in the 1980s and 1990s there was a lot of political work, all the post-modernist work was really political and then that sort of fell out and it became that work was not about anything topical per se and I think that shift is coming back. A – there’s a lot of topics worth talking about and B – people are wanting more from their artwork and more of that critical discussion. Having something to say again.”
The Made in China images are beautiful and expertly crafted but they each have a little zinger added with Chinese text paired with the translation in English. First impressions look like a traditional Asian signature but when you look closer the words are political in nature offering a subliminal message about government trying to control the way people think and behave.
“I think there’s an expectation now that artwork be easy to understand. People feel that they think they should ‘get it’. That it should be understandable but that’s not always the function of artwork. There’s a lot of levels of ways you can interact with art on just a visual level, a purely conceptual level and every continuum in between. I think it’s a real stumbling block for people who require that they need to understand everything they’re looking at and not just have an experience. I used to have a class where I taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, I would take them to the San Francisco MOMA, there’s an Yves Klein painting that’s a blue color field painting, a cobalt blue painting, and I knew that when we would meet back at the cafe that there would be this one student who would say, ‘Why is that art? I can do that.’ It was like clockwork every time, but it was the perfect conversation to have because the idea was, ‘But, you didn’t. He thought to do that, he’s making you question what is art.’ And if it pisses you off, all the better.”
Read more about Amie Potsic, Made in China at SideArts.com by Contributing Writer, Cassandra Hoo, Made in Chine, a Thought Provoking Show by Amie Potsic
Written and Photographed by DoN Brewer
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