UNSPOKEN WORDS : WORKS BY AUTISTIC ARTISTS
Friday, April 1st, 2016
“I need to see something to learn it, because spoken words are like steam to me; they evaporate in an instant, before I have a chance to make sense of them. I don’t have instant-processing skills. Instructions and information presented to me visually can stay in front of me for as long as I need, and will be just the same when I come back to them later. Without this, I live the constant frustration of knowing that I’m missing big blocks of information and expectations, and am helpless to do anything about it.”Ellen Notbohm
42 Maple Contemporary Art Center is pleased to announce the culmination of their recent collaboration with Autism Speaks, an advocacy organization that sponsors research and conducts awareness and outreach activities at an international level. These two organizations joined forces and opened an international call for art to celebrate the talents of many gifted artists who have Autism Spectrum Disorder. During the month of April, the Gallery at 42 will be filled with original artwork from both Canada and the United States, and on the night of the opening reception the art center will be illuminated blue to celebrate World Autism Awareness Day.
Adopted by the United Nations in 2007 to shine a bright light on autism as a growing global health priority, World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD) occurs every year and celebrates Autism Speaks’ international “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Thousands of iconic landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the globe, from the Pyramids of Giza to the Eiffel Tower, unite by shining bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families affected by autism.
From art medium to geographical location to the age of each artist, the Unspoken Words exhibition in fundamentally diverse at every level. The youngest participant is a mere three years old, and yet another participant has shipped paintings from Alberta, Canada. Many of the artists who were selected for this exhibition will be on-hand the night of the opening reception, as well as representatives from the Autism Speaks organization itself.
Of the ten participants, only three are regionally based. Isaac Rader of North Conway, New Hampshire, draws magnificently detailed cityscapes, as well as wolves and weaponry. When asked about his creative process, Isaac said “Part of autism is a difficulty to communicate. I’m usually the one in the room with the least severe diagnosis, but at the moment, I’m having a very hard time communicating exactly how much I am in debt to my elementary school art teacher, June McLeavey. Ms. McLeavey is a woman to whom I owe every stroke of pencil you see. Without her effort to teach someone like me, who had drive but little knowledge, I wouldn’t have been able to draw animals because I’d have no sense of proportion.”