RACINE — The Racine Art Museum recently opened two new exhibits.
The RAM 13th Annual International PEEPS Art Exhibition runs through April 23, featuring work inspired by pop culture, animals, sports and famous artists, created by various people, groups and organizations with the colorful marshmallow Peeps candies.
Open through Aug. 27 is Blurry Boundaries: Contemporary Artists, Imagination and the Spaces Between, featuring works made from various materials exploring the ambiguous connection between imagination and reality.
Each year, the popularity of the Peeps exhibit draws thousands of visitors to the museum. Even in 2020, over 135 enthusiastic artists created pieces for the RAM 11th Annual International PEEPS Art Exhibition, which was postponed for months beyond its usual Easter holiday opening as a result of COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns.
The RAM 12th Annual International PEEPS Art Exhibition in 2021 saw a meaningful increase in submissions, with 170 artists from across the country entering the competition.
While many of the PEEPS® art entries are created by local artists, families, and organizations, several pieces arrive every year from out-of-state. Over the past 13 years, PEEPS® pieces have been sent into RAM from as far away as Tucson, Arizona; San Francisco, California; Pisgah Forest, North Carolina; and New York City.
Many repeat entrants have been become experts in marshmallow candy as a material, using methods like carving, painting, hole punching, gluing, and melting to manipulate PEEPS® into incredible shapes. While the seasonal candies are still the most common material, the PEEPS Art Exhibitions also include pieces made in a variety of other media. For the most part, anything goes, as long as the artworks represent PEEPS®, are family friendly, and adhere to the exhibition’s size requirements.
Visitors throughout the run of the show will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite creation, naming one popular artwork worthy of the coveted PEEPles Choice Award. Guests are allowed one vote per visit. The award will be announced after the close of the exhibition.
Artists of all ages are invited participate in the 2022 competition by dropping off entries on days the museum is open, from noon to 4 pm, or shipping to arrive at the Racine Art Museum before Saturday, March 26.
On a certain level, being imaginative means producing things in the mind that exist independent of reality, including scenarios that are invented or fantastic.
While there may still be connections to day-to-day reality, the scenes, sensations, or ideas within the imagination are fictional. However, philosophically, it could be argued that what happens in the mind is just a different kind of reality. This vagueness about defining what truly is real leaves potential for artists to investigate, create, and actualize their own narratives.
Blurry Boundaries addresses these ambiguities, or the spaces between them, by sharing a wide range of works — including sculpture, painting, prints, and art jewelry. There are invented characters, versions of legendary tales, musings about death, and scenes that simultaneously seem real and unreal. With narratives operating in a space between fiction, fantasy, and reality, the contemporary artists whose works are included represent a variety of backgrounds and perspectives.
To narrow the scope of an exhibition that addresses ambiguity and the imagination, the works featured in Blurry Boundaries mostly — although not exclusively — reflect visualized narratives.
While primarily drawn from RAM’s collection, the exhibition also spotlights loaned work from Wisconsin-based Yeonhee Cheong and Illinois-based Paul Andrew Wandless.
Additionally, the loan of “Lost at Sea” by Edouard Duval-Carrié represents a newly formed partnership between RAM and Art Bridges, a foundation dedicated to expanding access to American art across the nation. Duval-Carrié’s large-scale two-dimensional work addresses the propaganda of paradise, responding to the way historical imagery sometimes diminished cultural identity.
The museum is located at 441 Main St., Racine. Visit ramart.org for more information.
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