BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art, an imaginative touring exhibition of large-scale inflatable works, has made its way to the Jepson Center from Bedford Gallery in Walnut Creek, CA.
“BLOW UP is a showcase for creativity and technology, and each artist has a unique approach to this medium. It’s going to be something new and exciting for our audiences,” said Alex Mann, Telfair’s Director of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator.
The exhibition is on until September 18 at Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center and features inflatable art by prominent contemporary artists and art collectives.
This year inflatable art will be presented on a larger scale with works averaging 2.70m tall.
“While some pieces are hand-sewn, others are computer modeled and custom-made using lightweight and durable synthetic materials to achieve their impressive size. The results are bold and unforgettable,” said Mann.
Telfair audiences were exposed to inflatable art in 2019 with the ‘Summon the Sea: Contemporary Artists and Moby Dick’ exhibition, which introduced Tristan Lowe’s solid wool felt inflatable whale ‘Mocha Dick’ to a new audience.
As with Lowe’s inflatable work, this exhibition will give visitors of all ages the opportunity to explore new media in contemporary art.
The installations in BLOW UP will encourage the viewer to look beyond the conventional associations of inflatable boats with balloons, beach toys and airships.
“Savannah is a creative city, so it was important to use these works to show something new and innovative for people and artists to explore,” said Mann.
This show features nine different artists working with the medium of fabric, air and machinery to create these works. Some museums aren’t big enough to display many of these works, but the Jepson Center’s size was perfectly within the scope of this exhibition.
This is one of the largest shows Mann has ever worked on in terms of the size of the pieces on display.
“The medium of bouncy castles has a fundamental concept and allows these artists to create large scale works. They get to explore their ideas and see their work bigger than they normally could, and the Jepson Center is a wonderful place to show that work,” Mann said.
The international list of artists and art collectives well known in contemporary art circles includes: Nicole Banowetz, Sharon Engelstein, FriendsWithYou, Joshua Harker, Susan Lee-Chun, Matt Ritchie, Lizabeth Rossof, Max Streicher and Jen Stark.
Her works are known for using bold color, pop culture references, and overwhelming scale to address a range of serious issues, including consumerism, climate change, cultural identity, and mortality.
The organizers hope that this will become evident as one walks through the exhibition and will captivate the viewer with the magnitude of the work juxtaposed with the variety of colors and media.
“When you watch this show, you’ll see that all of these concepts and themes, from the recognizable to the abstract, are possible and come together by these artists, and there’s a lot of great pieces to see,” Mann said.
BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art is organized by Carrie Lederer, Exhibition Curator, Bedford Gallery at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek, CA.
This exhibition is the second edition of BLOW UP, also curated by Bedford Gallery. The presentation of this exhibition at the Telfair Museums was designed by Mann.
“I’m not an artist myself, but when I look at works in an exhibition I look beyond the emotional response I get from the art and also look at how I can make this work and how it was made and how it was made manufacturing process it was. I hope the visitors feel that too,” said Mann.
BLOW UP: Inflatable Contemporary Art runs through September 18th. Residents are encouraged to visit the Jepson Center for free on Saturdays and Sundays through August 28. Telfair Museums is waiving admission fees for residents at its two Telfair Square locations in a six-county region: Chatham, Bryan, Effingham and Liberty (GA) and Beaufort and Jasper (SC).