Visitors of Roberson Museum and Science Center’s new art exhibition were greeted with a celebration of pink on Sept. 15. The Roberson Museum and Science Center hosted a Dress to Match the Art party to celebrate its new exhibition — Anna Warfield’s “Placid Thoughts From Inside Her Eyelids.”
The dress code for the event was anything and everything pink. Through this, attendees were invited to become an extension of the art itself. Walking into the exhibition, one was greeted with a sea of pink from both the art installations and the attendees. There were pink dresses, shirts, jewelry, bodysuits and more. A mound of pink tutus was also available for anyone who felt that their outfit needed a bit more flair.
The event was intended to be more interactive than the typical gallery exhibition. Not only were people invited to become part of the art by wearing pink, they were encouraged to have fun and be silly.
Angela Blasich, 49, of Endicott, a friend of Warfield and emcee for the night, wanted to invite people to be enthusiastic and carefree.
“A lot of times, art is so pristine and quiet and proper,” Blasich said. “It was really wonderful to see how playful people are.”
Attendees were encouraged to chat with one another, dance along to the music and take part in exhibition bingo as well as a word search.
Anna Warfield, 28, from Whitney Point, spoke about how she wanted to make art galleries a more fun, inviting and accessible place for people to come to.
“Sometimes people don’t know how to enter that space,” Warfield said. “So, just to have the guidelines of wear some pink, and we’re gonna have a fun time, and there are some activities that can hopefully take the edge off a little bit and make it more inviting.”
The first part of the exhibition one walks into, “Inside Her Eyelids,” is a field of poetry featuring letters made out of fabric suspended in the air. By using soft fabric, Warfield claims a medium that has been historically labeled as “women’s work.” Her pieces both build on this history and identity of fabric as well as subvert it. She acknowledges that when we think of fabric, we think of comfort objects like blankets and rugs. Warfield uses this aspect of the medium to draw the viewer in, letting them lower their guard. However, when they take a closer look, they will notice the deeper, darker meanings of the pieces.
“What I deeply appreciate most is that kind of juxtaposition of softness and brutality,” Blasich said. “The content is so brutal and so painful, and it’s being offered in such a soft, palatable way so that we might be willing and able to receive it.”
Petra Bennett, 24, of Endwell, felt similar things about Warfield’s work.
“I love all of her work because it’s so visceral,” said Bennett. “The language, the way it looks, is so soft, but then you read the poetry and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is so intense!’”
The second part of the exhibition, “Placid Thoughts,” highlighted Warfield’s artistic process. This section featured artist books, early sketches, videos detailing the creation of the pieces in the exhibition, books Warfield read for research and a mock studio space set up to mimic how Warfield’s studio looked during the process of putting together the exhibition.
For Bennett, the studio space was their favorite part of the whole experience.
“It gives a lot more credibility to the artist process,” Bennett said. “You get to see the whole timeline of [Warfield’s] artistic life, and that’s really cool to me.”
Overall, Warfield considered the Dress to Match the Art party to be a massive success.
“You always hope that at least a few people will be there,” said Warfield. “This is a crowd that you desperately hope for, and I’m just so touched.”