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KSU 'Paper Moon' Exhibition Opens This Week

The exhibition invites interpretations of illusion and substitution.

A new exhibition at is focused on substitutes.

“Paper Moon” will focus on work that, in one way or another, serves as an imperfect substitute for the real thing. The show also examines how the substitutes are intended to function, the nature of their appeal, and what role authenticity and our ability to "make believe" plays in the proffered illusion. This group exhibition features contemporary work by regional, national and international artists and includes daily film screenings.

“'Paper Moon' focuses on work in which the artist replicates his or her world in some fashion, yet their imitation is not seamless," said Teresa Bramlette Reeves, the exhibition's curator. "The viewer is aware of the difference, provoking questions and revelations. Rather than following a contemporary fixation on greed and irony, we more often locate the artist’s motives in personal need and a sense of longing.” 

The idea for the exhibition began with a documentary about teenage magicians and turned into a project where the sleight of hand and trickery behind illusions is made obvious but the willingness to be entertained still remains. The title “Paper Moon” is borrowed from a Depression-era song, “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” written by Harold Arlen and made popular by versions released by Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole during the later years of World War II. The song refers to a paper mache world of theater sets, homemade high school props and parade floats, inexpensive backdrops that provide a bit of temporary glamour or romance. 

All objects in the show are easily recognizable as a variation.

“From Joe Peragine’s paintings of natural history museum dioramas to Adam Parker Smith’s wallpaper installation, each artist offers a turn on the real with objects that are invested with emotional and psychological weight, and perhaps, with a kind of innocence and faith,” Reeves said. “One sees what one wants to see, and I, for one, welcome that interpretation. Join us in the escape.”

The exhibition will be on display from Aug. 30-Oct. 1 in the Art Gallery in the Sturgis Library and Aug. 30-Dec. 6 in the Don Russell Clayton Gallery in the Bailey Performance Center. An opening reception is scheduled on Aug. 30 from 5-9 p.m. in all galleries. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

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