It is truly satisfying to see people find camaraderie in spaces dedicated to artistic expression. While attending the opening of Yellow House’s second exhibition, Life Under Construction, people conversed freely as they viewed the paintings by artists Princess Simpson Rashid and Keith Doles. With the overarching theme of the show centered around physical and emotional healing through art, the bonding occurring on that night added to the entire experience.
The journey of recovery can often seem like a lonesome voyage, yet Life Under Construction affirms that regaining peace of mind and body can genuinely be a communal experience.
Because the gallery is a converted bungalow, the viewer can be anywhere in Yellow House and be able to see other rooms or halls that contain pieces of art. It encourages moving through the space, and much of the artwork can be seen from multiple vantage points. This sense of connectedness deepens the nature of the exhibition as the embodiment of public healing and renewal through creative means. Moreover, this welcoming atmosphere is epitomized by the open office area; Yellow House itself effectively bares its soul to visitors.
The art of Rashid and Doles harmonizes well on a conceptual level. Their work illustrates the figurative highs and lows of regaining wellness in the midst of illness. Princess Simpson Rashid is a cancer survivor who is mourning the loss of her father. Keith Doles is caring for his ailing mother and is struggling with his own well-being. Both artists are trying to resolve their internal and external turmoil through their art.
For Rashid, the limited color palette utilized in her paintings (red, yellow, black and white) symbolize the chaotic or joyful elements of her life. One of her largest paintings in the exhibition, Cosmos, the overbearing and intense irregular structures of red epitomize “chaos that was growing in [her] body.”
Doles envisions his work and creative process as having parallels to “construction sites” and “building renovations”—to him, his life and art can be rebuilt after trauma.
His paint brush, palette knives and other painting instruments are akin to the tools of construction worker. Demolition visualizes this sentiment held by Doles, as the frantic brushstrokes can easily be representative of debris being scattered about the area. Rashid's and Doles’ joint exhibition is a powerful testament to the strength of self-care and coping in the face of illness. Both painters find solace in using art as a vehicle for the stresses of their lives and these pressures can be resolved with the help a community.
Life Under Construction is on view through Feb. 10, 2018. Hours vary; for details, go to yellowhouseart.com.