Chimera (2020) is an exhibition of various media, including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, film, ceramics, fibers and digital works presented by the senior class of fine arts at the University of Missouri. In ancient myth, the chimera was a terrific fire-breathing monster with the head of a lion, the body of a goat and a serpent for a tail. Today, the word chimera can describe any singular amalgamation of seemingly disparate parts. The collective work of these 15 artists merge to form Chimera: a body in which each student applies their unique perspective to one central entity. The word chimera can also indicate a wish or desire that is, in fact, illusory or impossible to achieve. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, presenting Chimera in a physical, interactive space became an impossible feat.
When campus closed, the students abruptly lost access to all artistic means, but the hurdles faced in this exercise will prepare emerging artists for what lies beyond graduation: a struggle for space, materials and community support. In the midst of a shared existential crisis, replete with a lack of motivation, financial hardship, and unwelcome social distance, there exists an opportunity for self-discovery, a necessity for creativity, and a yearning to connect with others. This virtual exhibition brings the illusory Chimera into a magical reality, reaching more people – friends, families, and communities – than a finite physical space would have allowed. To those interacting in this virtual happening, the artists express boundless gratitude.