Robert Perkins: Every Day

October 5, 2018 - January 7, 2019

In order to view the exhibition Every Day, one must walk through a gallery containing photographic portraits and stories of people in recovery from addiction. I thought it would be unfair to an artist, the art, and viewers to place just any body of work next to such a hard-hitting subject. I wanted to find an artist who would embrace the idea of creating a coda to the cumulative experience of viewing the Museum’s current exhibits. Visual poet, filmmaker, storyteller, and naturalist Robert Perkins agreed to take on the task of creating such a place of hope and possibility.

Perkins has been combining words and images since the 1970s. His collaborations with poets begin with their handwritten poem or fragment, which he then joins with a visual equivalent. The resulting fusion amplifies and expands the ideas embedded in the poetry. In his filmmaking and storytelling, Perkins adheres to the notion that the edges of what constitutes art, or an art form, are fluid and must embrace and engage the viewer. With that in mind, Every Day features participatory elements and provides a space for contemplating the human desire for transcendence.

— Mara Williams, Chief Curator

Grounded in ordinary experience, we sometimes “go beyond,” or transcend, the everyday. Transcendence offers deep intimacy as well as a taste of the eternal, and because of this sharp contrast with the mundane, we remember those moments, or days, of grace.

This exhibit reflects several different experiences in my life. The objects in the show become fingers pointing to the moon, indicating my path to transcendence. Metaphor is the vehicle. Birds have always stood as a symbol for transcendence. The Zen story is another form of metaphor, as is the photograph of my late wife, Claire. Together with the birds and the Tundrabet I made on one of my long solo expeditions, they mark times in my life when I’ve been lifted out of the everyday and into transcendence.

— Robert Perkins

The artist wishes to thank to Constance Allard, Gary Glickman, Stephan Hewitt, Monika Johnson, Henry and Joan Lee, Sarah Mustin, Eve Perkins, Florence Perkins, Deborah Reeder, Michael Sieck, Stella Sise, Craig Stockwell, and Greg Wentz for their kind assistance and support.