Last week I wrote about "Poetic Transformations," an exhibition of work by five national women artists that opens tomorrow, Aug. 15, in Gallery I of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Here's a slideshow of the work in the exhibition.
In his introductory essay, curator and UALR gallery director Brad Cushman wrote, in part, about the theme of the show:
The postwar American Dream of the 20th Century seems to be a tenuous daydream in the wake of the recent financial meltdown, the unstable housing market and global climate change. Many critics have pronounced ‘the dream’ and the material trappings associated with it to long since be dead, yet there is still a yearning to attain and hold on to that dream. The security of the prized possession earned has not been enough for many to overcome the feelings of aloneness in a modern world.
For over 350, years growth through capitalism and technology has been the fuel driving Western economic and social progress. The competition and aggression of industrialization in a market economy coupled with overpopulation has exploited and continues to exploit nature. Today, environmental science is pointing to climate changes on our planet and telling us to live in harmony with nature. The loneliness and isolation many experience in this modern world of ‘prosperity’ can be directly linked to their loss of intimacy with nature. Culture comes from nature and our internal clocks need to be recalibrated to be in tune with nature. Caroline Merchant, the author of The Death of Nature states: “The world we have lost was organic.”
Between their fixed ideas, Alice Leora Briggs, Jacqueline Bishop, Sylvie Rosenthal, Holly Laws, and Jennifer Anderson poetically navigate iconic symbols and forms. There is an intimacy in the artworks exhibited by these women. Private, personal and political, the tone and tenor of their remarks make them vulnerable as they examine how the relationship between the human world and the natural world continues to transform.
Cushman drew the work by Briggs (silkscreen and clayboard), Rosenthal (woodwork), Bishop (mixed media), UCA art professor Laws (sculpted geodes) and Anderson (mud and steel) from the collections of the Arkansas Arts Center; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; Blue Spiral 1 Contemporary Art Gallery in Ashville, N.C.; Evoke Contemporary in Santa Fe, N.M.; Arthur Rogers Gallery in New Orleans, La., private individuals and the artists themselves.
Last week I wrote that Rosenthal's sculpture of a building in the Old West riding the back of a ram was "clearly" referring to the weight of the man-made on the natural world. This week I'm thinking, nah. It's about the conjunction of the two. (I'll let you know when I change my mind again.)
The exhibition runs through Oct. 3.