‘Transcending Otherness’ amplifies the voices of those who feel different

“Aware” by artist Libby O’Daniel, part of the “Transcending Otherness” exhibition at Meredith College.Courtesy of Lisa Pearce

The exhibit “Transcending Otherness” started small, with just two artists.

But as art tends to do, it expanded and morphed into something bigger — an exhibit of works from five artists and the new North Carolina Poet Laureate that’s a showcase addressing themes of separation, race and gender. The exhibit, according to Meredith College, looks at those who aren’t in power, or those who may feel like they’re just an “other.”

Lisa Pearce, an art professor at Meredith College, curated “Transcending Otherness,” which features multiple mediums and runs through Nov. 8 at the Raleigh college’s Weems Art Gallery.

“I’m hoping people connect with the artwork and spend a little more time with it and realize we have more in common than we do differences,” Pearce said. “I want people to walk out empathizing with one another.”

Pearce’s former students Libby O’Daniel and Jade Wilson helped her spearhead the show.

In addition to adding visual artists, the exhibit also incorporates poems by Jaki Shelton Green, who was recently named North Carolina’s first African-American Poet Laureate.

Green’s role in the midst of the myriad of visual art is to act as “witness,” Pearce said. Green composed poems to welcome viewers into each section of “Transcending Otherness.”

Pearce reached out to Green via Facebook and wondered if her message would get through. To her surprise, she heard back from Green almost immediately.

A poem by Green is mounted on the wall at the entrance to each artist’s section of “Transcending Otherness” to weave her words into the exhibition.

In textile artist Jennifer Markowitz’s section, for example, Green designed the poem’s words in a pattern that resembled stitches to accompany the artist’s embroidery.

“I told her the concept for the show and she said it was right in alignment with the work that she does and what she writes,” Pearce said. “I wanted her to be a part of it in terms of bringing a different perspective and wanting her to articulate things as a poet.”

The artists

A reception and artist talk is Thursday, Oct. 25 at 4:30 p.m. at the Weems Gallery.

▪ Libby O’Daniel, a painter known for her oil portraits, shares hers and others’ experiences with gender identity on canvas.

▪ Stacey L. Kirby, a Durham-based installation and performance artist. She recently designed a billboard on Highway 147 in Durham (between Ellis Road and Briggs Avenue) as part of the 50 State Initiative of For Freedoms Federation.

▪ Jennifer Markowitz, a textile artist who embroiders “Fleshmap” panels to capture points along her life journey with bipolar disorder.

▪ Lamar Whidbee, an athlete-turned-painter and multimedia artist who explores themes of family, race and spirituality.

▪ Jade Wilson, a Raleigh photographer known for her black-and-white portraits.

▪ Jaki Shelton Green, the former Piedmont Laureate, won the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2013 and was inducted into the state’s Literary Hall of Fame in 2014.

Details

Where: Gaddy-Hamrick Art Center Weems Gallery, 3800 Hillsborough St., Raleigh
When: Through to Nov. 8; gallery hours are weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends 2 to 5 p.m.
Tickets: Free.
Info: Facebook.com/meredithcollegeartdepartment

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