Art Center Waco’s new exhibit, “Perspectivism,” challenges viewers

Perspectivism will be at Art Center Waco from September 1, 2022 until closing on November 5, 2022. Photo courtesy of Glasstire.

By Emma Weidman | Staff writer

In artist Jack Bauer’s new exhibit, Perspectivism, he said he wants the viewer to challenge themselves. The exhibit, which will run from September 1 to November 5 at Art Center Waco, tricks the eye and makes viewers think about what they expect to see and what’s actually there.

Bowers forces flat shapes to jump off the wall – or so it seems. One of his favorite pieces, though he said he loves them all equally, is a large open box, large enough to look like a window to a separate room. The trick, though, is that this piece is actually flat, despite what the shadow it casts on the wall might suggest. You might have to look at it from the side to believe it’s really flush with the wall.

That’s the kind of perspective shift Bowers and Art Center Waco director and CEO Doug McDrum wants viewers to make. For McDurham, now is a time when people are stuck in their ways, in their echo chambers and tunnel vision.

McDurham said this exhibition poses the questions this country needs to ask itself right now – how can we challenge our own beliefs? How can we see things from the perspective of others? How can we remember that others are more like us and more surprising than we might immediately assume?

The mission of Art Center Waco, and ultimately of “Perspectivism,” is just that—an escape from consensus. McDurham said art is meant to take people out of their assumptions.

“We [at Art Center Waco] I believe in the transformative power of art,” McDurham said. “Art has the power to remind us of what we have in common and to see what makes us unique… we have in many ways lost our ability to see the world from a different perspective and surround ourselves with images and sound fragments that reinforce what we are already thinking. We need art like this to remind us that perspective matters and where we stand in the room, figuratively speaking, affects what we see.”

One piece is made up of 10,000 individual diamond shapes of different sizes and shades. But don’t be fooled by Bowers’ explosive use of color. The meaning of “perspectivism” is more than just an illusion and a blow that meets the eye. Bowers is passionate about climate and believes art has an obligation to comment on the world we live in.

In one piece, a tranquil autumn view is interrupted by a signpost in the ground, covered every inch with bright graffiti. Bowers said she wants the viewer to think about the impact humans have on nature and contrast what some might find blatant vandalism with something pure and untouched. Bowers again challenges the viewer as he considers this juxtaposition and why he might find graffiti defacing.

“We’re in a climate crisis, and I always think about that,” Bowers said. “Whenever possible, I try to bring that into the visuals. Our job as artists is to interpret and give perspective in a poetic way – sharing how we feel.”

According to a press release from Art Center Waco, “the philosophy of perspectivism holds that we tend to carry our own fixed, automatic, and permanent way of looking at the world.” The perspective Bowers brings to his art and to the world is to be a vessel for expression.

“I want to see what comes out of me,” Bowers said. “I’m kind of sitting there waiting to see what happens next. One scar goes on and I respond to that scar with another… I’m looking for a certain energy, a feeling for the viewer.”

Beyond its ideological value, McDurham said Perspectivism is just a fun exhibit.

“It’s a nice exhibition… Jack makes good use of geometry, form, color and chaos. We’re glad it’s on the wall,” McDurham said.

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