From March 25 to April 30, OneWay Gallery presents “Nothing to See Here,” a political exhibit that beckons viewers to look closer and to think deeper.
“Because of the time, the immediacy of the moment, everyone’s stimulus scale is off the charts,” says curator Scott Moran, who created two site-specific installations for the show. “As artists, we react to it. And the themes embody our work.”
“Nothing to See Here” also features work by artists Tom West and Jessica Cabral.
Moran’s installations are informed by his interest in global humanitarian crises. The first, “Migration,” is a plaster impression of footprints.
“When large groups of people migrate, they’re never welcome,” Moran says. “And the current conflicts are just setting the stage for what will happen next with climate change and coastal erosion.”
His second installation, “Fear of the Clear Blue Sky,” places the viewer under a foreboding shadow cast by a weaponized drone.
“It was inspired by an interview with an Afghani who said he feared clear skies because drone strikes were the likeliest,” he says. “Here in the Ocean State, we view the blue sky as a productive day — something mood enhancing. But in other parts of the world, it’s like, ‘Oh shit, blue sky, we’ve got to run to the well,’ or ‘don’t let the kids out.’ ”
Tom West, a Providence-based artist who draws on his experience as a Navy veteran and a youth art instructor, homes in on politics and immigration with flame-throwing abandon.
West, who also operates a silk-screening business, re-appropriates existing projects for the show, including the “I Farted” series, a sardonic take on the “I Voted” sticker.
New work in “Nothing to See Here” includes “Government Hills,” a statement on the Hollywood-to-government pipeline, and “Hasta La Vista, Baby,” a “your face here” carnival cutout depicting a Hispanic pregnant woman. Viewers can interact with the piece by placing their faces in her womb, a commentary on American-born citizens with undocumented mothers at risk of deportation.
“No one has used folk art like this to tackle serious issues,” West says. “I’m finding it’s a great vehicle to get messages out.”
Rounding out the show, artist Jessica Cabral presents a collection of work inspired by the reclamation of power in the face of oppression. “You Watched Me Wake Up,” a triptych self-portrait of the artist, exposes the process of awakening, growth and transformation in a personal and political sense.
“It exposes my shaky discomfort with other people ‘watching’ me figure it all out,” Cabral says. “This is my very vulnerable, very anti-private way of admitting I have a lot to learn.”
She also presents “I Will Not Keep Quiet,” an installation featuring the image of iconic activist Angela Davis beside a collection of protesters; a “Liberal Snowflake” installation; and a coat hanger chandelier inspired by the pro-life movement.
“Dangerous shit does and will happen when you take away women’s rights,” Cabral says. “It’s literally putting logic in the back pocket for the sake of righteousness.”
The show runs from March 25 to April 30. The public is invited to an artists’ reception on April 1 from 5 to 8 p.m. Regular gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. OneWay Gallery, 140 Boon St., Narragansett, 401-792-8800