Strike Away, a widely-encompassing show of nearly 450 painted, sculpted, cut, fired, and sewn artworks made from matchbooks by 225 artists from around the world now on view at Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids is the first show artists Courtney Cerruti and Alicia Dornadic have teamed up to organize together. With a nondiscriminatory, open call for artwork that included an emphasized reach across the photo-sharing platform Instagram (#StrikeAwayShow) used by millions of creative people in order to include as many artists and makers as possible, all skill levels and career stages are represented. Cerruti and Dornadic aimed to organize a show with a more inclusive theme where everyone could participate, and the result is an exhibition that is both electric and eclectic.
As for the choice in medium, Cerruti says there are multiple creative avenues from this humble object that makes it an ideal foundation upon which to create a special art piece: “There’s a small scale, an intimacy. But then, there’s a found object thing to it, and artists can advance the piece. There’s also memory associated with matchbooks, a bygone feeling to them.” Dornadic, who took on the role of Registrar for the exhibition, found it a deeply rewarding experience; she says, “To display something where this is their first show next to someone who shows all the time, it’s great to see them on an equal plane… All the artwork was sent to my house, and it felt like Christmas everyday.”
The co-curators share some of their favorite stories behind the artwork on view with SFAE, and it becomes quickly evident the show’s significance reaches beyond an exhibiting artist’s career or the work’s technical skill or craftsmanship. It is in many ways a celebration of the diversity of art and artists, as well as the ability of art to unite so many different people. Cerruti relates for her it was rewarding to hear the story of artist couple Hope Henniger and Yvette Franco, whose works are aesthetically dissimilar so they never shared an exhibition space before, but found in Strike Away that exciting opportunity to unite their practices. Dornadic tells the story of a delightful diorama by Akanksha Makhija of a sailing ship set inside a matchbox with cloudy skies painted inside: “I thought this one was so fun,” she says, pointing to the object. “It’s from India and I thought, ‘how great it sailed across the world to be here.'”
Strike Away will be on view at Paxton Gate Curiosities for Kids, 766 Valencia Street through June 30th
Images 5-68 courtesy of Courtney Cerruti and Alicia Dornadic