Family is a fundamental social construct in every culture. Most basically, its definition references parents, their children and others related by blood or by law. As well, partners, close friends, neighbors, church members, mentors, colleagues and others special to us may assume the role of family in instilling values, offering protection and establishing and maintaining cherished traditions.
While families afford a source of stability, births and marriages, dissolutions of relationships, aging and death recurrently alter their structures and dynamics. Many of these events are accompanied by formal rites of passage. Other, more subtle, changes in family relationships occur from day to day, and may only be fully understood over the course of time.
Formal and informal family relationships are a rich resource for artists and the Akron Art Museum collection features works in many media portraying friends and loved ones. Family shares an array of photographs, most drawn from the Akron Art Museum collection, that record the estranged as well as the fond exchanges that characterize “family.” They offer insights into the intimate, spontaneous, prescribed and strained interactions that distinguish the families we inherit, create and adopt. They were selected within an expansive definition of family, seeking to stimulate conversations about the intentions of the artists and the individual perspectives each visitor brings to the exhibition.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.