By Amiracle Grant
The Council on Culture & Arts (COCA) recently introduced a new and unwonted exhibition by local print maker Amy J. Fleming called “The Aesthetics of Elderhood: Artworks on Ageism” in the downtown City Hall Art Gallery.
Gallery Curator and Assistant Director Amanda Thompson, partnered with Fleming to connect art with some of the more uncommon prejudices throughout society such as ageism and disposability.
“I always appreciate an artist who deals with difficult social and political issues while retaining a commitment to craftsmanship and design,” said Thompson.
“As gallery curator, I work closely with artists to develop a vision and message for their exhibition, and then execute that,” Thompson continued.
Fleming said that her interest in ageism and disposability sparked from her own personal experiences and believing that there has been a pre-existing wasteful mentality throughout society.
“I became interested in working with found objects and discards after noticing how our society has developed an increasingly ‘throw away’ mentality. We no longer have things repaired, we simply toss them out and buy new things. I believe this attitude carries over into how we regard older people,” said Fleming.
Fleming also stated that having relatives of her own experience issues with ageism also contributed to her inspiration.
“Two relatives lost their jobs at age 60 and 61 despite having excellent work records. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), ageism is the most common form of workplace discrimination,” said Fleming.
The exhibit features over 130 individual photographs and artworks, including many found objects that Fleming has collected overtime.
“As a part of her creative process, Fleming rescues lost and neglected items such as rusting gearshifts, china shards and broken bottles. She photographs these remnants of consumer culture and incorporates them into her screen prints,” Thompson stated in a release.
Fleming also wanted to capture the essence and inherent beauty of ageism throughout the local community by photographing some of the city’s more mature residents, most of them members of the City of Tallahassee Senior Center.
Throughout the exhibit you can find images of these community members depicted as royalty wearing robes and crowns created out of discarded objects such as old hairspray bottles and radiator hoses.
“This exhibit asks the viewer to consider the roles men and women play in our society and how that might change as they age. This exhibit reminds us that with age comes knowledge that is valuable beyond measure,” said Thompson.
“This exhibition offers plenty of surprises, from the manner of the installment to the content of the work,” said Thompson.
The exhibition will be on full display Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through April 15, 2019, at the gallery at 300 South Adams Street.