On View November 19, 2010 – January 15, 2011
Friday, November 19, 2010 from
6:30-8:30 PM artist talks at 6 PM
The famous altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb (1432) of Jan and Hubert van Eyck, has become a framework for Maria Smits’ installation The Adoration of the Mystic Dog. Through much research and exploratory drawings, she has gradually developed her own interpretation of the work. Smits’ work is full of polarities: rawness and vulnerability; contemporary and classical visual references and meanings; poignancy and repugnance. The word dog is literally the reverse of the word God. It is the opposite and at the same time, the same. Like the two sides of a coin, the light side and the shadow side, the day and the night. Her work represents both sides, typically in black and white.
In The Adoration of the Mystic Dog, Smits questions the importance of the role of Christian religion in our current culture, questioning the hierarchy of men and god, questioning the meaning of worshipping and thinking. The twelve panels of the altarpiece, with the Adam and Eve figure on both sides functions as the works centerpiece. Portions of the figurative narrative are left in addition to deform much of the content into abstracted black and white forms. In this move from the figurative to the abstract, a universe evolves. Central in the gallery the “Mystic dog“ sculpture, built from Polystyrene, foam rubber and plastic binders will be exposed in the space between the four pillars.
Fugitive Emissions is an installation of large-scale animated paintings with sound that poetically probe the hidden life of petrochemical production. In these animations, abstract gestural brushstrokes collide with the realism of 3d computer graphics. These moving paintings are virtual worlds that blur the distinction between technology and biology. The dependence of our ways of life, especially along the gulf coast, on petrochemical processing and the effects of this production on living systems are the inspiration for this work.
Oil spills are a highly visible symptom of a much broader, complicated relationship between the petrochemical industry and the communities along the gulf. It is the invisible processes involved in the creation of our lifestyles, hidden behind mysterious and silently remote edifices that these animations explore. These products and byproducts of technology change our external as well as internal landscapes. The industrial plants, their emissions and affected organs, dissolve into one. Like some will-o-the-wisp, seen dimly through the humidity, the objects drip in a slowly evolving miasma.
In 1918, pigeon Cher Ami saved the lives of 194 American soldiers during World War I. He did so by flying for 25 miles in 25 minutes delivering an urgent message to headquarters despite having been shot through the chest, blinded in one eye, covered in blood and with one leg hanging by only a tendon. Hundreds of thousands of homing pigeons were used in service during World War I and World War II, in addition to countless dogs, horses and other animals that exhibited what we would call bravery. In 1943 the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals, in the UK, instituted the Dickin Medal to honor the work of animals in war. The Dickin medal was issued 55 times over 6 years to honor 32 pigeons, 19 dogs and 3 horses that served during World War II and one cat that served briefly after.
For her exhibition in the Cavnar Gallery, Vasquez will create 54 small scale drawings displaying each animal that has been awarded the Dickin Medal in addition to one large scale crocheted tapestry displaying these animals in action. Vasquez works from World War II battle paintings to recreate a similar scene but transpose the aforementioned animals for the people; pigeons parachuting from planes, dogs with rifles, etc., creating a balance of sincerity and humor.
The pairing of work by Deb Karpman and Kimberly Hennessy sets out to examine ideas about collection, appropriation, duality and absurdity. The duality explored in their respective work is heightened by their contrasting approaches to image making. In Deb's work, the images are created by fastidiously cutting up old manuals and guidebooks and then carefully arranging the snippets onto the backs of vintage wallpaper, a practice that is systematically very controlled but has a dynamic and fluid end result. Kimberly's studio practice involves a fair amount of detailed drawing, but also a lot of hasty piling, overlapping, pouring, dropping and walking away. When shown together, the work of each artist pushes and pulls at the other in a precariously balanced drama.
Also on view
Snack Projects • featuring Jill Wood
Snack Projects is a miniature and portable art space, a “gallery” measuring 11” x 20” x 13”, organized by artists Michael Guidry and Robert Ruello, featuring the work of both local and regional artists.
For more information, please visit: www.snackprojects.com