Family Takes Center Stage in the de Saisset Museum’s Newest Exhibits
Marika E. Krause
Santa Clara, Calif. Oct. 23, 2014—It’s all about family at the de Saisset Museum at Santa Clara University this season. Creative in Common, on view through March 15, 2015, explores creative ties among family members across generations and through chosen partnerships.
In today’s world, family is often a hot-button issue. It is defined in myriad ways and evokes a range of associations. It can mean shared blood lines, connection through marriage, close friends, chosen community members, and everything in between. At its root, family is linked by something shared—mutual interests, common characteristics, shared beliefs.
Creative in Common brings together work by five pairs of artists who share familial connections like partner to partner or parent to child. The 10 artists represented in the show include Fletcher Benton and his daughter Ashlie Benton, Sam Francis and his son Shingo Francis, and married couples Kara Maria and Enrique Chagoya, Lynn and Harry Powers, and Inez Storer and Andrew Romanoff. They are linked not only through their relationships, but through their shared commitment to art making. Each artist pursues his or her own creative work. The voice of their partner, parent, or child serves most often as a sounding board, or a point of support or inspiration rather than collaboration. Though sometimes working in similar mediums, the pieces created by these individuals are set apart from one another stylistically, aesthetically, and thematically.
Using traditional connections as a jumping off point, Creative in Common seeks to open a dialogue about the many definitions and experiences of family in today’s world. The family theme is further reiterated through the presentation of the show; one of the galleries is furnished with sofas and tables, inviting visitors to make themselves at home by sitting, relaxing, and enjoying the work around them.
Creative in Common is presented in preparation for the museum’s 60th anniversary in 2015 by drawing heavily on the strengths of the institution's permanent collection. At least one artist from each familial group is represented in the museum’s holdings. The theme of the show also connects back to the roots of the organization, which was founded through a bequest from Isabel de Saisset, the last surviving member of a prominent 19th century San Jose family, in honor of her brother Ernest, an artist and former student at Santa Clara College (now University).
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