Screwdrivers. Crayons. The side of an old school bus. Crutches. It may sound like trash but these things held my attention. Each item, on its own, had been discarded, deemed no longer of any use to its previous owner. Maybe it would be at home at a garage sale or lying by the side of the road.
But in the Summit Artspace, these found objects have become parts of a new whole, pieces given fresh meaning in the assemblages that comprise the Time Capsules exhibition by artists Terry Klausman, Bret Hines and Gwen Waight.
You can lose track of time staring at each work, picking them apart with your eyes to see what you can recognize in its original capacity and come to understand in this new configuration. It’s easy to feel whisked away, which makes sense. Klausman, who also curated the exhibition, loves to tell stories and that is exactly what Time Capsules does.
This past weekend, I met with him to learn more about his work and the exhibition.
“Why did you choose the objects you use in Time Capsules?” I asked.
“I was telling a narrative,” he said. “The nostalgia I feel around the object I use. I love using objects that are old, weathered and worn because they have lived a life before that I haven’t seen by that point. It has a story to tell. It’s my job to tell it for them.”
Sitting next to Klausman, I noticed a wooden box to my side. On the front it reads: “This is a time capsule of the art community in the Akron Area 2014-2015.” It’s an actual time capsule Klausman built to go with the show.
He explained that he wanted to take an “anthropological survey” of the Akron art community at this time. Anyone with a connection to art is welcomed to add an item. That includes artists, art collectors, arts organization volunteers, art gallery owners—or anyone with even a basic interest in art.
He only asks that you, if possible, include a photo of yourself “to put a face with the name.”
But why build an actual time capsule?
“I want to say something to the people who open this in fifty years,” he said. “I want to have a conversation and talk to them. …You’re going to have a voice in fifty years. I’ll have a chance to speak for one last time.”
So, what would you like to say to Akronites in fifty years?
The time capsule will be stored for fifty years in the Special Collections department at the Main Branch of the Summit County Public Library on Main Street in Downtown Akron. It will be closed at the conclusion of the exhibition on March 7.
Time Capsule, the exhibition, is on view now at Summit Art Space at 140 E. Market St., Akron, Ohio 44308. The gallery hours are Saturday and Sundays 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. or by appointment.
Katelyn Y. Gainer is the new arts columnist for The Devil Strip. She is an art history graduate student and gallery assistant for a smal arts nonprofit. She loves to help promote Northeast Ohio’s thriving arts community. You can find her on Twitter at @katelyngainer.