Collection: A Firmament in the Midst of the Waters, selected by Jay Youngdahl (online exhibition)

About the exhibition

Viewers can learn much from the work of NIAD artists. Their pieces evidence an honesty of feeling and experience emanating from their unique bodies and psyches onto the earthly materials used by artists. Unaffected by the distorting demands of the neoliberal art market, no “zombie formalism”  is found here.

The brushstrokes of our lives extend in many directions simultaneously.  The work of these NIAD artists offers the viewer a recognition that life is often a jumble of color and form.  Things arise, and often not in a linear or scientific manner. 

The act of curation is always the mediating of a conversation between the artists and the viewers. This show curates a dozen pieces by NIAD artists as a response to the bizarre times we live in, from an artistic perspective of abstraction. 

In reviewing the NIAD catalog a religious/spiritual theme emerges.  Based on the conception of the beginning of the world found in the Old Testament book of Genesis, out of a chaos a world is born.  The world is one in which we want to inhabit, along with our fellow sentient beings.  Let there be light.


About the organizer

Jay Youngdahl is an artist, writer, and activist. For the past few decades he has made his living as a lawyer working for workers and their unions in the American South.  Working in text, collage, and photography, the majority of his art practice is “participatory action art,” the making of art from his life and activism. 

He earned a JD from the University of Texas at Austin, a MDiv from Harvard University and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  In April 2021 he published a three volume artists’ book, “Covid Collages and Tankas,” chronicling the personal and societal bizarrity of 2020. 

In August 2021, he presented a collage set based on his military experience, “The Complicated Life of a Veteran,” at the Highground Veterans Memorial Park in central Wisconsin.  

He is a member of the Board of NIAD..

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