N4TUR3 essay

(above, from Tiger Strikes Asteroid's Facebook page; l to r: Thomas Vance, Misako Inaoka, Regin Igloria)

Here for interested parties, is an essay I wrote to accompany my gallery's latest exhibit, N4TUR3. To see images from the exhibit, go to www.tigerstrikesasteroid.com, or come see the exhibit up through June 26th.

N4TUR3 essay

Sometimes, nature is considered a mirror for humans; a place to see ourselves reflected – for better or for worse. In N4TUR3, this creates a visual paradox: we are both nowhere and everywhere in these works.

David Guinn’s Snowy Owl is a quiet avian portrait, but in the background snowpack we see the path of a recently-passed – but now disappeared – human. In Igloria’s Entanglement in Orange the human presence is clearly expressed in the manufactured product of a fluorescent-orange snow fence, holding a mass of foliage in a deathly embrace. The fence, an epitome of uniformity, is blaringly obvious in that un-natural state, but there is no other evidence of the humans that have made, and left, it. It is simply carrying out its naïve fate like a wind-up toy left to its own devices. And for Beth Brandon, the absentee human leaves behind an even more dynamic effect. In her two drawings, there is a before-and-after pattern of fire and smoke, but still no human (who we may assume has cut down the trees and struck the match).

Thomas Vance’s Cornice involves a more snarled evidence of this dubious human influence. Not simply a mostly-unaltered landscape on which human touch has left an obvious mark, such as in Snowy Owl, it is unclear from which direction Cornice has come from, or is going. In other words, is this an object which has been constructed to mimic nature? Or was it once a tree (Cornus, after all, is the Latin name for the dogwood family) but has now metamorphosed into a idealized tree-form; simply a product made from it’s model’s material, much like those toilet-paper roll trees from elementary school. While most of the other works are either on one side or the other of nature or artifice, Cornice is on the fence. Indeed, it is the fence for this N4TUR3.

Cornice embodies the question, and becomes the possible answer for the issues raised in N4TUR3: no matter its source or direction, a certain beauty is reached. In fact, in all these pieces, the results of human touch, whether the intent was good or bad, is always beautiful. Entanglement in Orange; Red Berries/Red Bird; The Need-Fire: every one is twisted, but twisted into beauty. Therein lies the possible answer, pointed out to us by art, but it should not distract us from the question, which will keep reappearing as long as we fiddle with nature the way we tend to: gene splicing; bio-engineering; rampant resource exploitation; drilling and scraping and poking. What we forget at our peril is that whatever we do to nature, we do to ourselves. The mirror always tells the truth.

- P. Timothy Gierschick II

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails