Exhibition Dates: May 28 – June 28
Lauderhill, Florida – 9MusesArtCenter is pleased to present a group exhibition titled “Throw Away the Key” featuring member artists. A key can be the mechanism for entrapment. It can be the device that restrains our movement, that locks us away, that places us in a cage. It can also be the device that frees us, unlocks us, and unbound us.
The artists of “Throw Away the Key” have explored this dual nature, the mechanisms that imprison us as well as those that grant us freedom. Sometimes these are literal keys placed deliberately in the artwork. Sometimes these are metaphorical locks and keys; locked in by our medications, our image, our secrets. At times, the tension stems from the ways in which certain treatments meant to free us, yet imprison us in other ways.
“Throw Away the Key” prominently features works of this metaphorical nature with a slightly surrealist or super-realist bent. Each piece is gifted with a rich palette and vibrant colors to underscore the intensity of the subject matter. Many contain personal messages and symbols. This combination results in rich storytelling, inviting the viewer to engage in their own struggle with imprisonment and freedom in full Technicolor.
We use the phrase “throw away the key” when it comes to secrets. We may be asked to lock up that secret and throw away the ability to speak it. We don’t just do this with the secrets we choose to keep, but with ones, we may feel forced to. Traumas so pervasive, so acute, that even uttering them can be a painful experience. Some of the pieces in this show wrestle with those traumas, those secrets with visual acuity. Others may allude to it, asking the viewer not to ask, “what is shown” but to surmise what is being left out. What secrets are there left to keep?
Then again, we must also look to how in the history of Mental Health and Mental Illness, too many of us were thrown or chained in inhumane conditions. “Lock them up and throw away the key,” - a phrase meant to evoke that we ourselves are secrets to be kept, meant to be forgotten. This show serves as a reminder of that history, and that perhaps by making art, perhaps by being loud and colorful, we can create our own keys. Perhaps we can set ourselves free.
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