Heskin Contemporary is pleased to announce its inaugural group exhibition, RED DESERT, curated by artist Sarah Trigg and organized by Elizabeth Heskin. The exhibition will be on view from October 14 through November 18, 2006, with an opening reception on Saturday, October 14, 7-10 pm. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 12-6 pm or by appointment.
Red Desert examines the spiritual and physical tensions between technologized culture and the natural landscape through the works of seven contemporary artists. The show takes its title from the 1964 Michelangelo Antonioni film, Il Deserto rosso (Red Desert), which marked Antonioni’s entry into color film. Influenced by the abstract painting of his time, Antonioni employed color throughout this film as a forceful central protagonist, using landscape to project emotional disturbance and post-industrial malaise. The exhibition Red Desert presents an updated version of these sentiments through the emotional landscapes of its artists.
Based on images from the Internet of environmental and social disasters, two paintings from Joy Garnett’s Strange Weather series depict painterly landscapes with violent-looking cloud formations. Caused by wars and climactic events, the obscured skies that Garnett paints present the blurry line between geological, political and social ‘weather’. Garnett’s Strange Weather series will be featured in her upcoming solo exhibition at the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC).
In Allison Gildersleeve’s Floodhouse, a white architectural form towers over layered, autumnal-hued debris, and an over-scaled, crochet-like pattern integrates with the landscape. The imagery originates from her accumulated memories of a scene on the face of her family’s grandfather clock. Gildersleeve develops her paintings by collecting memories of an existing place and collapsing them into what she describes as a third, distinct space with its own physical presence. A recent MFA graduate from Bard College, Gildersleeve will be having a solo exhibition at Michael Steinberg Fine Art in 2007.
To coincide with the theme of her recent solo show at Feigen Contemporary, which referenced American asylums and psychiatric practices of the 19th century, Elizabeth Huey delivers a fresh postcard-like painting of the Fergus Falls State Hospital, the last Thomas Story Kirkbride building still standing and in use in Minnesota. Kirkbride, a psychiatrist in the 1800’s, designed asylums based on the principles of moral treatment and the belief that an idyllic environment would have a curative effect.
Sandy Litchfield’s paintings inspire the feeling that the “hills are alive” with biomorphic forms and flesh-like color winding in and out of otherwise familiar topographic layers. Creating her own fantastic geology, windows of realism punch through the picture plane to integrate with the overall, organ-like forms. Litchfield is strongly influenced by the failed attempts of early cartographers and mapmakers to understand “place”. Her work is currently represented by Metaphor Contemporary in Brooklyn, and Bernard Toale in Boston.
Ken Resseger, a recent BFA graduate of Pratt Institute, creates paintings consisting of black acrylic mixed with soap on synthetic Yupo® paper, a durable product normally used for commercial purposes. With mark-making reminiscent of Japanese scroll painting, Resseger’s abstract compositions offer multiple spatial possibilities between which the viewer may alternate within their gaze.
Having exhibited regularly in New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, Jean-Pierre Roy offers a fantastical realism all his own. With a background that includes scenic matte painting for feature-length films, Roy creates landscapes with breath-taking articulation of familiar but fictitious topographies. Upon closer inspection, these imagined narratives are hauntingly suggestive of impending global disaster: flooded mountain-top cities, melting icebergs, disturbing weather patterns, and explosions from unknown sources.
A native of both the US and Germany, Kristen Schiele gets her inspiration from the industrial landscapes of the Midwest and post-war Eastern Block Berlin. For Schiele, as is evident in her painting Industrial, architecture reflects our economic and ideological moment, while imposing order and influencing public behavior. Schiele combines painterly technique with an emotional use of color. She is a current resident artist at LMCC and had a solo exhibition at the Soap Factory in Minneapolis this past September.