New Exhibitions at Virginia MOCA Kickoff 2017
The ambiance was set in the atrium of the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) Friday night for their Winter/Spring 2017 opening. Guests were greeted with glasses of champagne and refreshments provided by numerous local catering companies. The galleries were opening for the private champagne preview just as the atrium was beginning to bustle.
As viewers entered the galleries, they were met with the “Mindful: Exploring Mental Health Through Art” exhibition. The displays give imageless issues within society such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder tangible features. These mediums, which can be seen and touched, allow the viewer a perception of mental health through the artists’ works.
“The Mindful exhibition is poignant for everyone, especially students, in helping to break down the barriers and stigma around mental health,” Dot Greene, Public Relations and Marketing Specialist for MOCA, said. “We hope this exhibition is a springboard for people to get help.”
Greene further discussed the other activities with the Mindful exhibition, including a community forum Feb. 23 on mental health. This forum will feature panelists from the exhibition as well as mental health professionals. It is free and open to the public.
Moving along through the galleries into the Community Gallery is “Left Behind,” a series by Jamie Betts. Betts’ photographs capture a preservation of the past in a present state of decay. The images include abandoned buildings, construction sites and a site near Williamsburg with oversized busts of past U.S. presidents.
Betts is from Richmond and attended the opening. He was engaged in conversation with attendees on sites along I-64 between Virginia Beach and Richmond that are fitting of his camera lens.
Bridging the path between the “Mindful” and “Left Behind” exhibitions are the “New Waves 2017” juried exhibition and Nevet Yitzhak digital exhibition, “Warcraft.” “New Waves 2017” is in its 22nd season.
“Warcraft” by Nevet Yitzhak utilizes digital media to portray images and sounds associated with war. The display features war rugs from Afghanistan as the backdrop in this virtual projection. The rugs utilize imagery such as tanks and helicopters mixed with traditional geometric patterns that have been woven into these rugs for centuries.
The images are not stagnant. Yitzhak utilizes the digital media platforms to bring the scenes in the rugs to life. This creates an intentionally pixelated battle scene taking observers’ minds to memories of early video game graphics and sound effects.
The artist utilizes this video game motif because she views video games as creating a desensitization within society to war. This mixed with the evolution of the war rug from century-old patterns to including images of war draws the viewer into a virtual world and brings that reality that much closer.
Opening night at MOCA showcased an invaluable asset to the Hampton Roads art community. Attendees were able to enjoy works from nationally recognized artists as well as those from the Hampton Roads community. Providing a gathering place for modern and contemporary art, MOCA has plenty to offer the local artist and art observer communities.
Through the utilization of art, MOCA has curated a series of galleries to attract a wide array of people, from the contemporary to the more subtle art fans. Take advantage of this resource in your community and expand your understanding of the Hampton Roads art community.
These exhibitions are available for viewing by the public through April 16. MOCA is located at 2200 Parks Ave. in Virginia Beach. Hours of operation and further information can be obtained from their website at www.virginiamoca.org.