Director’s Foreword


Semiconductor Ruth Jarman (British, born 1973) and Joe Gerhardt (British, born 1972), 20Hz, 2011, HD video, 5:00 minutes. Courtesy of Semiconductor and Lux London

Semiconductor Ruth Jarman (British, born 1973) and Joe Gerhardt (British, born 1972), Stills from “20Hz,” 2011, 5:00 minutes, color sound (stereo), HD video, Courtesy of Semiconductor and LUX, London. © Semiconductor

We are pleased to present this exhibition and online catalogue of work in various media including video, sound, installation, sculpture, painting, and photography by twenty-one artists of national and international origin. The exhibition uses the psychological state of flow as a launching point to examine related definitions and applications, many of which involve kinetic forms, non-static content generation, visitor interaction, and collective states of being.

Today’s constant bombardment of information made possible through digital access, the mixing of previously distinct cultures and ideas, and the increasing speed and ease of global travel has produced a simultaneous and continuous flow of both physical and non-physical entities. To be a socially and politically engaged person, partaking in this flow seems mandatory. Living “off-the-grid” in most economically developed societies is largely a conscious choice, requiring fortitude and foresight, particularly if one wants to communicate with others while taking oneself out of the flow. 

Because the word “flow” is an apt and often-used term to describe this constant state of activity, an examination of the word’s many meanings and applications seems appropriate for contemporary artists, viewers, and readers. The possibilities are as endless as the word’s many definitions, such as to move freely, circulate, appear graceful, derive, be plentiful, flood, and rise.

Appreciation is extended to all who have contributed both directly and indirectly to this exhibition, catalogue, and related programming. We thank the many artists, collectors, and gallery dealers and staff who not only lent the artwork for the exhibition but also assisted throughout in the formation of the project. The exhibition’s curator, N. Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions, University Museums, would especially like to thank the artists who participated in interviews for the catalogue. Appreciation is also extended to Schuyler Swartout  ’11, who assisted with initial exhibition research and to Sarah Matheson, ’13, who conducted several of the interviews and was integral in planning the related programs that will take place during the run of the exhibition.  Many people contributed to the formation and completion of Flow, Just Flow; please see the full list presented on the Acknowledgements page.

The exhibition and programs are made possible in part by the University’s Cultural Affairs Committee, funds from the Louis S. Booth Arts Fund, and the University’s Department of Art and Art History. Additional support has been provided by grants from the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and the Austrian Cultural Forum, Washington, DC. At the University of Richmond, our special appreciation goes to Dr. Edward L. Ayers, President; Dr. Stephen Allred, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Kathleen Roberts Skerrett, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, for their continuing guidance and support of the University Museums, comprising the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art, the Joel and Lila Harnett Print Study Center, and the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature.

As always, we give our thanks to the staff of the University Museums, each of whom has effortlessly and creatively mastered the technological and communication challenges that this project required.

Richard Waller
Executive Director
University of Richmond Museums