The Reece Museum Proudly Presents
2020 FL3TCH3R Exhibit: Socially & Politically Engaged Art
A Group Show Including the Art of Aaron Wilder
October 5-December 11, 2020
Reception: Thursday November 5, 2020
Juror's Presentation: 5:00pm-6:00pm (video recording here)
Virtual Awarding Reception: 6:00pm-8:00pm (video recording here)
636 Stout Drive
Johnson City, TN 37614
The 2020 8th Annual FL3TCH3R EXHIBIT is an international juried exhibit focused on socially and politically engaged art. Socially and politically engaged art has been integral in creative expression since the beginning of visual arts. This exhibition explores the current trends and trajectory in this field and these collective creative works hopefully serve as an avenue or agent for societal transformation and exposure of social and political points of view. The goal is to recognize and advance this endeavor by providing a venue for the exhibition of socially and politically engaged art.
Fletcher Hancock Dyer, age 22, was lost too soon in a motorcycle accident in Johnson City, TN on November 5, 2009. Fletcher was a senior in the Department of Art and Design at East Tennessee State University pursuing a concentration in Graphic Design under a Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Earlier, Fletcher used as a preface in an essay he wrote as a high school senior a quote by Gerald W. Johnson, “Every great work of art is offensive to someone, for a work of art is a protest against things as they are and proclamation of things as they ought to be.” As an artist and graphic designer, Fletcher’s passion for art was a vehicle that allowed him to mirror his passion and marry it to his concern for social and political issues through visual means.
Fletcher was always curious and aware of current events; he experimented in innovative ways to create works that investigate contemporary social issues. New, unexpected ideas and perspectives had unique ways of coming to the surface as a result of Fletcher’s creative means of rattling cages. Fletcher wrote, “I dream of making a difference in some way with my art, I might attempt to right political, social, and religious wrongs by showing the rest of society a glimpse of how I feel about serious issues in the world…Hopefully the awareness that I can help create will spark an interest in a movement that others will follow.” Fletcher’s work embodies a purposeful, deliberate perspective of his personal endeavor to employ art as social and political commentary.
THE FL3TCH3R EXHIBIT aspires to honor Fletcher’s legacy by providing a venue for artists to exhibit artworks that continue the dialogue. This year's juror, Carlton Wilkinson, selected 89 works by 57 artists from different parts of the world out of 97 artists' submissions (total 249 artworks). The 2020 FL3TCH3R Exhibit is Dedicated to Black Lives Matter: A new Black Lives Matter award will be presented in Fall 2020.
Work from Aaron Wilder's You Have the Right to Remain Silent project is included in the exhibition. This is a video project incorporating sound and edited footage of the burning of what appears to be a Confederate flag. The project was significantly inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King's August 1963 speech "I Have a Dream" as well as by the contemporary Black Lives Matter movement. Pointing to the South as the nexus of racism in the US avoids the underlying truth that many of America's core institutions are either founded on racist principles or perpetuate structural racism and that many outside the South benefit from this structural racism. This project is an intended break or rupture of the popularly held belief in the United States that white people outside the South don’t have any responsibility for or benefit from the structural racism against Black people. This project presents a deeper look at some of the underlying causes of one of the most significant issues of American contemporary culture and the mentality shift that must take place for a real break-through in social progress and local race relations. With a duration of 18 minutes 45 seconds, the video took 10 months to complete from concept to final video editing. The full video is viewable on Vimeo.