Anne Labovitz brings art, healing together at the Rochester Art Center
The internationally known artist is leading gallery tours of her latest show, The Nexus of Well-Being and Art, which is showing at the Rochester Art Center through July 30.
ROCHESTER — It was the week Anne Labovitz was installing her show at the Rochester Art Center, and the Minnesota artist was still learning how her work would look in the second floor gallery.
Clouds passed across the late afternoon sun pouring into the three-story, west-facing windows. Her face lit up. The changing light in the gallery was a welcome addition to the exhibition.
“Light is an important element in these works,” she said.
Labovitz is a Minnesota-based artist who has shown work internationally. Her show at the Rochester Art Center, The Nexus of Well-Being and Art, opened Feb. 18 and runs through July 30, 2023.
The largest work of the show and the largest piece Labovitz has created to date, “Will to Meaning,” was installed weeks before. The work features five 80-foot pieces of painted Tyvek-brand house wrap hanging in the museum’s atrium. It had already changed the tone of the museum before the rest of the work was installed.
“That color you see in the atrium, it reverberates in your eyeballs,” Labovitz said. “There’s something about the visual experience of it that’s connected physically.”
That’s the interaction the show explores — how art contributes to physical well-being.
For inspiration and material for the show, Labovitz interviewed health care providers. The research revealed the deep care they each had for people they treat, Labovitz said.
“There was a purposefulness, care and rigor they have for their patients,” she said. “There are so many beautiful passages about care.”
A common topic of the interviews, and consequently the works, is care, she said, calling it the show’s “connective tissue.”
Some of the pieces are literally words from the interviews painted onto canvas or depicted pictorially. People can also hear excerpts of the interviews. Visitors may add to the show by adding their own art and thoughts to a “Well-Being Wall” which will exhibit the responses on a grid wall in the gallery.
It’s a chance for people to listen to the sources that inspired the art and listen to people’s responses to the art.
“Listening is a powerful tool,” Labovitz said.
Listening leads to understanding and empathy which seems to be in need. Labovitz noted the world and our society are still dealing with COVID-19 and the millions who have died from the illness. The suicide rate in the U.S. jumped before the pandemic and has continued to rise and the country’s population is aging.
“We’re really not alright right now,” Labovitz said.
Pointing that out and exploring these traumas and ways to face them falls to contemporary artists as much as the medical profession, she added.
“We respond to the most pressing issues of our time,” she said. “It’s our job.”
Labovitz is offering talks and tours of the show March 4; April 8; May 6 and July 15.
If you go
What: The Nexus of Well-Being and Art gallery tour with the Anne Labovitz.
When: 1 p.m., March 4; April 8; May 6 and July 15.
Where: Rochester Art Center, 30 Third Ave. SE.
How much: Free with museum admission.