"The cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought our supreme wish, the freedom of human conscience our mission, and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere, the end of our contention." So begins the Scottish Rite creed, a set of ideas evidenced in the Masonic order's welcoming of ambitious works by nearly 50 local, national, and international artists into their grand temple at 825 Union Avenue.
Curated by Jason Miller, "Circuitous Succession Epilogue" brings together a variety of artists working in mediums ranging from wood and steel to fragile ceramics and plastic Walmart grocery sacks. The artwork can also be heady, exploring a range of topics from economic disparity to corporate dominance to female exclusion. It may also be witty, as is the case with stairwell installations by sculptor Greely Myatt, and a tricky piece by multimedia artist Jay Etkin that has been used by Miller to create a kind of hide-and-seek game with visitors.
The Scottish Rite building is three stories with a dining room and a grand theater that was expanded and refurbished when it was used to film performance scenes for the Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. It is already outfitted with ornamental work, masonic symbols, and portraits of past members. Miller, who curated his first exhibit in the grand, non-traditional space a year ago, says that part of his aim was to create a resonance between the curated artworks and the temple.
Miller can't stop talking about the depth of talent in his show and seems especially excited about four pieces created by Shara Rowley Plough. "It's called Maids Work," he says of the collection. "She wove maids' garments out of Walmart shopping bags. They are so detailed; it must have taken her a year."