On April 26 in a small house on Bee Road, just across from Daffin Park, an ephemeral art event unlike any other will materialize briefly and then vanish as quickly as it came.
The house is uninhabited. All of the interior walls have been torn down. The inside is a blank slate, a negative space where four women artists will manifest their creative apparitions to be seen for one weekend and one weekend only.
“Kindred” is a collective effort spearheaded by local artist Tobia Makover. She produced an exhibition of her own work in the same house last year, but this effort is different, as it also includes the work of photographers Lori Vrba, based in Chapel Hill, N.C., Dawn Surratt, also based in North Carolina, and Sal Taylor Kydd, who is also a poet and lives in Maine.
“Kindred” is a temporary exhibition that will mix the simpatico styles of four artists who have somewhat different perspectives on similar themes. Their work is unapologetically romantic in the classical sense and infused with mystery, poetry, and a generous helping of the surreal. The exhibition is also an installation that mixes one artist's work with the other and will include sculptural elements, sounds, and atmospheric aromas.
“These other artists are artists I've been working with outside Savannah and I wanted to show my Savannah what I've been doing,” says Makover. “These are four women that push the boundaries of photographic art, meaning that if you're looking for a photography show with matted pieces next to each other, you're not going to get it.”
“We completely reject that,” laughs Vrba in agreement.
They explain that the show is also unapologetically feminine in nature and is coming from the minds of four women artists who are working in similar milieus, but from slightly different perspectives.
“I think we all have a romantic sensibility, which I think typically is related to it being feminine,” says Vrba. “But, particularly in photography right now, that is something that's not necessarily on trend and we are doing it anyway because that's who we are.”
“Our voices are important,” says Makover. “We all have to be authentic to ourselves and I think it becomes evident quickly when you're not authentic.”
Makover is especially excited to bring these artists she's been working with in other cities to Savannah to share the creative love and expose a new audience to work that may not be familiar, but is equally thought-provoking and imaginative. Smaller cities like Savannah can benefit greatly when outside energy is injected and different creative challenges are laid down.
“That's another part of this idea, this movement, or concept that [Makover] and I have spent so much time with,” says Vrba. “Which is, what can you do to elevate your community and those artists that have been along on the ride with you and supported you? What can we all do for each other? And Tobia is really great about thinking about this... Don't you always want the best and more? I totally believe in supporting locally, but not to the point where it becomes insular.”
“Savannah can be insular,” says Makover. “We have so many amazing artists here that we can just feed off each other and love each other. But what's beautiful is when you can bring in not just random people, but people you love, that work in a similar vein, that have a similar heart and mind and say, look, if you like my work, you're gonna freak out about this.”
Makover also emphatically adds that all the work on view will be for sale. She says she's not one to mince words when it comes to selling her work and, though she wants people to come and enjoy the full sensory experience of “Kindred,” there will be work available for purchase for anyone interested. Any working artist living anywhere needs to sell work to be able to keep doing what they do.
“I don't want to sound cheesy, but we will have every price point,” says Makover. “We're not just here for the one percent... My collectors start at the age of 8 years old. High school students collect my work. The prices will vary.”
The reception for “Kindred” will be April 26. On April 27, all four artists will be part of a talk moderated by Rebecca Nolan, professor of photography, Savannah College of Art and Design.
It’s Makover's hope that she can connect the Savannah art scene with artists in other locales, as well as bring together the collectors, educators, and curators to ignite a larger creative fire.
As Makover explains so succinctly in the press release for the show, “Kindred” is an effort at “manifesting a new way of living and working within a creative life that rejects the history of artistic competition as a marker of traditional success. Instead, they support and embrace the notion of an artist-driven, united community of collective as well as individual achievement, representing a significant paradigm shift.”
Kristopher Monroe is a writer documenting the intersection of art and community. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow on Twitter @savartscene.