Artist Spotlight: MK Guth

Join SOU Senior Tyler Noland for an introduction to the work of MK Guth one the artists in the Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts exhibition ‘What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts’. This exibition will be on view on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website during the Winter of 2021.

When most people think of art their minds go to things more classically displayed in art museums like paintings, or sculptures, but that isn’t always the case, sometimes art is about engagement or performance, the non-classical. 2015 Hallie Ford Fellow MK Guth has had a long career making art that’s focus is more on the social rather than applied. Guth is an artist and educator, and one of the thirteen artists featured in the Schneider’s virtual winter exhibition What Needs to be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts. In fact, Guth’s work is where this exhibition drew its title from, referencing her series of interactive books with the same name. MK Guth is one of the winter exhibition artists participating in the Creative Industries Discussion series currently held via zoom.

Guth’s artwork has long been based around public interaction and engagement. Coming from a background of sociology before moving into art, her artwork helps the public to engage with work in a social manner, making artwork about the collective. Her projects have included many different kinds of ideas over the years, from an interactive taxi service, to creating dinner party instructions, but always share the theme of preserving public engagement where she provides the instructions. That is the basis of her work What Needs to be Said featured in the winter exhibition.

What Needs to Be Said is a collection of ten empty books whose titles prompt viewers to fill their pages with their own thoughts and opinions. Half the books share the title of the exhibition, “What Needs to Be Said”, each with their own subcategory including Love, Art, Identity, Politics, and Ecology. The other half of the books are entitled, “A Memory About”, with each book’s individual title being: place, adventure, sorrow, happiness, and love. Each of these books has 1,000 blank pages with the aim that viewers of the exhibition will fill them with their thoughts and lives. Once they are full, they will be sealed and kept as a preservation of the collective experience. While these works cannot be engaged with in the same way due to COVID-19, the concepts of what they ask viewers to participate in are still very alive. MK Guth asks the public to consider the social potential of art in ways that feel fresh and engaging, opening participants to be a part of the experience she designed. Allowing us all to dig deeper into the small moments of our lives.

Guth is the second artist featured in the winter exhibition’s creative industries discussion series, speaking on Thursday February 4th, 2021 at 12:30pm PST. The creative industries discussions give further insight to the artist’s work and practice, as well as providing an opportunity for community questions. This series is now being held via zoom due to COVID-19 safety and restrictions.

The Winter Exhibition What Needs to Be Said: Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts will be available to view virtually on the Schneider Museum of Art’s website until March 6, 2021.

Tyler Noland is a senior Creative Writing major at Southern Oregon University. She is originally from the Bay Area, and this is her third year at the Schneider Museum of Art. While not working on her writing she enjoys making collages with vintage magazines.