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SECCA closing got renovations

by Keith Barber

SECCA closing for renovations

Visitors to the Southeastern Centerfor Contemporary Art, or SECCA, inWinston-Salem have only a few moredays to enjoy three exhibitions currentlyon display. SECCA will close forrenovations Jan. 4.SECCA director Mark Leach said thearts center is excited about the plannedrenovations and grateful for the state’sfunding support.“We’re very grateful to the NorthCarolina General Assembly and thecitizens of the state who are giving usthis opportunity,” Leach said. In 2005,the state legislature appropriated$250,000 “to assist with the costs offacility maintenance at SECCA.”The Chapel Hill design firm SzostakDesign has been awarded the contractby the state to renovate SECCA,according to a museum press release.The purpose of the renovation is toreplace the roof of the 46,400-squarefootarts center’s roof and climatecontrolsystem. The museum isscheduled to reopen in early 2010.However, that doesn’t mean thatthe arts center will cease operationsfor an entire year, said Ellen Wallace,SECCA’s director of marketing andcommunications.SECCA will continue to conductexhibition and education programsthroughout the Winston-Salemcommunity. SECCA will present InsideOut: Artists in the Community II, inwhich it will stage seven commissionedsite-specific art works or eventsthroughout Winston-Salem, Wallacesaid.The first week in March, SECCA willcollaborate with Old Salem to presentan outdoor art installation by artistCharles Brower entitled, Rise Up,Winston-Salem. Brower’s exhibit willbe composed of ladders donated bymembers of the community. SECCA willissue a call for ladders in mid-February,Wallace said. “The city of Winston-Salem has beenextremely supportive of our efforts,”Wallace said. “We’re bringing the artof SECCA to a broader audience andmaking public art accessible.”However, the imminent closing ofSECCA’s doors does mean that timeis short for art enthusiasts to enjoythree new video works by Mexicanartist Carlos Amorales, a quiltingexhibit entitled Structure, Surface andExpression: Quilt Directions Todayand an exhibition of more than 40photographs and three short films byDutch artist Erwin Olaf. Amorales’film, “Manimal,” begins showing onWednesday and runs through the artcenter’s closing on Jan. 4. Amorales’ filmis part of a larger video exhibit entitled,Psychedelic, which was assembled bySECCA curator Steven Matijicio.“Amorales’ worlds are inhabited byshadows of humans, birds, animals,and insects that live and move inambiguous, but invariably severesurroundings. In these dark, fluidfantasies, the metamorphosis ofhumans into animals and of animalsinto humans speaks to a civilizationthat is simultaneously progressing andregressing,” Matijicio said.Olaf has been widely praised for hisinnovative photographic technique,which centers on building sets, orworlds, for his models to inhabit. Olaf’ssets resemble the work of a productiondesigner on a big budget Hollywoodmovie. He then places models in thoseelaborate sets and begins shooting.The hyper-realistic nature of Olaf’sphotographs has drawn comparisons toEdward Hopper and Norman Rockwell,Wallace said.Matijicio selected a broad range ofOlaf’s work to show off his wide rangeof influences, from the Dutch Mastersto science-fiction films of the 1960sand 1970s. The exhibition also includesthree short films by Olaf, including onethat builds on the artist’s Le Dernier Criseries, which features beautiful modelswearing strange, futuristic applianceson their faces.Wallace said the overarching themeof Olaf’s work is a commentary on theAmerican Dream. Amorales, on theother hand, fuses Latin mythologies andurban folklore with personal experienceand digital technologies, said Matijicio.Amorales creates a fluid world wherefamiliar images are capable of invokinganxiety, wonder and fear. In so doing,he questions the nature of our dailycertainties.
To comment on this story, e-mail KeithT. Barber at keith@yesweekly.com.

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