Eye Lounge gallery is currently featuring an intriguing multimedia group exhibition titled Family Portraits: A Demography of Us in the East Gallery. Typically, when we think of the “Family Portrait”, what comes to mind is mundane and over-posed photographs, but not necessarily demography. With this show Eye Lounge informed the artists of the traditional definition of family, as well as “challenged with defining their own demographic and identifying their Phoenix families in this show of new work.” This group exhibition included a fascinating selection of art by David L. Bradley, Brianna Noonan, Eduardo L. Rivera, Mimi Jardine, Paul Elliott, Ann Morton, Emmett Ramstad, Constance McBride, Chris Maker, Merkel McLendon, Turner Davis, and Christina Pruitt. The artists used a variety of materials and mediums creating truly unique and diverse artworks ranging from photography, painting, sculpture, and mixed media pieces, in addition to the interesting space of the East Gallery.  The exhibition breaks through the so called “Family Portrait” mold, pushing the boundaries and definitely questioning the conventional definition of family and thoroughly exploring their demographic.

Some of the standout work in this exhibition was by Constance McBride, who created two charcoal drawings, a self-portrait titled “Female, 50 and Over” and a portrait of her husband titled “Male, 55 and Over”. When asked about the pieces McBride said, “They are there to say, we are real people not just a stat to be counted (tracked)”. Beneath these drawings were two striking clay sculptures titled “Every Move You Make” and “Every Breathe You Take”. These sculptures are raw, emotional and simply brilliant, literally displaying “us” as a book. McBride said her inspiration behind these two sculptures were that “we are all basically walking around like open books today, with our general and business use of the internet, social media, business marketing and sales, and the revelation of Government NSA tracking, the text and graphics on the pages are a lot of data about our demographic (my husband and I are ‘baby boomers’).”

An additionally emotive piece in the exhibition was “The Demography of Us” created by Christina Pruitt. Although small in scale this piece is powerful in sentiment, with the repetition of the word “Memory” typed in a pattern and then randomly edited, stirring the viewer to remember. When asked about the inspiration behind her piece Pruitt said, “my piece draws on the edited or idealized memories of family gatherings, also the phrase at the bottom, ‘I miss you, too’ could refer to lost loved ones. For me, my mother died this year so I find myself trying to remember things about our holidays together.” It was also important to Pruitt that the cost purely be about family and creating a new memory so the asking price is “the story of your favorite family meal and preparing and sharing that meal with the artist and her family.”

This Eye Lounge exhibition was included in the ArtLink Collectors Tour on November 16th, led by the Phoenix Art Museum Curator, Jim Ballinger. The tour focused on showcasing local contemporary artists and galleries, with this show being very well received. Make sure to take the time to stop by Eye Lounge this week and explore this interesting collection of work in Family Portraits: A Demography of Us. Also check out the West Gallery featuring Workshop: An Eye Lounge Fundraiser and Live Drawing Show and in the Project Room Getting Closer Every Day by Emma Ringness. These exhibitions are on view at Eye Lounge until December 15, 2013.

For more information about Eye Lounge & the exhibitions visit eyelounge.com.

by Nicole Royse
Staff Writer