Payton James, BFA Senior Exhibition

Confronting the Threshold: Perceptions of a Passageway

Payton James, BFA Senior Exhibition in Painting
April 3 – April 14, 2015
Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery
Gallery Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.; Sunday, noon - 6:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, April 3, 2015
                                   6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public

Artist Statement:

Standing before a threshold can be both physically and mentally stimulating. Confronting the Threshold: Perceptions of a Passageway represents liminal spaces through paintings and drawings of doors.  People often pass through these margins focusing only on their destination. Marginal spaces or thresholds are known as “liminal spaces” and can be difficult to recognize, as they are undefined territory. These short, transitional passes are incredibly significant, as stimulating thoughts occur during the passageway from one space to another. This could be a place where someone is leaving their past behind, eager to find a new beginning. This could be the waiting room, awaiting the next milestone, or an upcoming event in one’s life. On the other hand,  it could be when one is indecisive. It may also be as simple as the process of opening a door and crossing a physical threshold. In addition to the more commonly known physical and anthropological contexts, there are spiritual and psychological transitions. Doorways are excellent physical representations of liminal spaces, and like most liminal spaces, doors are often overlooked.

My goal is for viewers to formulate questions in their minds about the object, such as “where is the location of the door,” “where has the letter been,” or “who once held this door knob or key.” There may be other questions that are prompted in the viewers’ minds and the answers will vary depending on each individual. Whether it is the answer or the question, the viewers will likely base them on their unique perspective and experiences that they have encountered. I do not expect people to know that they are in a liminal space because most people are not familiar with the term, “liminality.” However, people can develop questions and they do know the feeling of anticipation or anxiety one gets when opening a letter in the mail or opening a door to an unknown place. I hope to provoke people to slow down for a minute and observe, to stop and think, to wonder, imagine, and ask questions. This change of pace from the fast speed that our society functions within will encourage thought and observations that they may not otherwise have experienced. Confronting the Threshold: Perceptions of a Passageway signifies transitional zones, providing an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and significance of transitions.

Images: Payton James, Where You Are (top) and It's been A While (bottom) from BFA Senior Exhibition, Confronting the Threshold: Perceptions of a Passageway, 2015