Stride: Fire, Brenda Draney and Jewel Shaw

Image via Stride Gallery Website

Fire is an exploration of … fire, and what it means in different facets, both destructive and cleansing.

For me, it was a bit lacking on  engagement. There were some prints which were damaged-looking, as in both physically damaged and emotionally, and they included words that suggested damage to a child and hiding and fear. The second area of work was comprised of drawings, which were strung along in a kind of web. Some were unfinished drawings of people, copies and works-in-progress in several stages, and other materials (see photo, which is from the Stride website, for a close up of part of this portion of the exhibition). This part I thought was more interesting – there was something to start piecing together – but I thought there wasn’t kind of deep enough you could go with specifics. The suggestion of pain, loss, and rebuilding is one thing – and those are certainly things fire does – but I didn’t get any new insight, new corner of fire to explore in a way I hadn’t though of it before, or being taken farther down a path of an idea of fire than I had been. Fire is such a powerful and longstanding symbol in terms of signifying “a time to murder and create” that with this show, I am left thinking “yep, that is what fire does”.

Reading the essay, the stories are very personal, and the essay is quite interesting in how it discusses the fires in the pasts of the artists and their families, but I don’t get the point of focus that makes it personal and engaging from the work itself to the same degree I get it from the essay.