As an extension of the Reynolda House Museum of American Art’s exhibition The Uncertainty of the Times, Wake Forest University Art Collections presents, The Art of Being Alone. This exhibition aims to explore further feelings and realities of isolation, especially the circumstances that arise as we find ourselves, often, alone these days. While The Uncertainty of the Times exposes the strange and eerie qualities of these tumultuous times through social relationships and our own positionally within the world, The Art of Being Alone steps away from the outside world as we explore the world within ourselves and our own personal spaces.
Isolation, quarantine, and social distancing have become all too familiar in our vernacular these days and we as individuals have been forced to confront and comfort ourselves during these lonely times. From not leaving your bedroom for weeks, to braving the public for brief outings, we have traded our ability to socialize with our ability to stay a safe and far distance from one another.
Each person has experienced this differently; some people find solace and peace in their own company while others have found themselves void of excitement and left craving human touch. Through works by artists such as Gianni Cestari, Kiki Smith, Jim Dine, and Maud Gatewood, this exhibition brings together all of those feelings of loneliness and otherness into one space. Comparing good and bad experiences, feelings of sadness with feelings of relief, alongside one another in this virtual exhibition aims to expand one’s idea of isolation.
Maybe you, the viewer yourself, are alone right now while coming across this exhibition, and I challenge you to confront each figure presented. Do you feel a sense of longing or despair? Do you feel a deep connection to the gloom of Gianni Cestari or an overall untroubled calm such as Philip Pearlstein depicts? However this period of our lives has defined and changed what isolation is to you, this exhibition provides a breadth of works for each individual to relate with and grow their own personal belief of seclusion.