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Chicago

Peter Miller Gallery Ltd.

Exhibition Detail
CALEB WEINTRAUB
118 N Peoria St.
Chicago, IL 60607


September 7th, 2012 - December 1st, 2012
Opening: 
September 7th, 2012 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
 
All In, detail of unfinished figure, CALEB WEINTRAUBCALEB WEINTRAUB,
All In, detail of unfinished figure,
2012, variable
© Courtesy of the artist and Peter Miller Gallery Ltd.
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> DESCRIPTION

Global Warming...They said it would happen this way. Storms would come. The ground would crack. Ice caps would melt and the oceans would freeze, the air would grow thick and hard to breathe... We'd be forced into domes, into glass bubbles where things could live... where a person could plant and eat and dance and feel almost alive....

But is that the sole cause for Weintraub’s elaborate sculptural mashup of Alice in Wonderland meets Lord of the Flies? After all, the urge to build a utopian biosphere predates warnings of global warming.

Has life become so randomly complex that his children have been forced to retreat further and further into more reclusive tribal environments? In his mad hatter world, the adults in charge have seemingly allowed events to pendulum with ever wider arcs, back and forth between progress and nihilism. Can Weintraub’s children escape the nervous speculation of what the future might hold? Or is it easier and wiser for them to take refuge in a metaphorical biosphere of their own making?

These children seem to be saying “We have been through so much. We have fought for our lives. Against each other, against our parents, against the entire adult world, against the known and the unknown... So we have fled here...and there, into so many miniature worlds, where we patch together our memories to make new ones, to invent a history, a tradition, a hope.”

 

Continuing his investigation of what appear to be visualizations of childhood fears and anxiety, mixed with the raw unrestrained aggression children are capable of, Weintraub’s images in paint or 3D, evoke memories of our own irrational childhood fears like the bogeyman under the bed. But were those fears completely irrational? Or is fear something that helps promote survival of the species and we’re all wired for it? So in childhood fear attaches to the irrational, however, later as adults, it becomes more rational as we all have mostly rational moments reflecting a deep consternation about what the future holds, for us, our family and friends.

Or in a more nuanced light, is the anxiety of the child and the adult really a sense of our mortality and the inevitability of change as our destiny? As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz said, “I want to go home! “ but she could have just as easily asked “Can we ever go back to simpler times in our lives?” and of course the answer is no. These fears become more complex as childhood loses its innocence, and our understanding of the depth of man’s greed and avarice, and in our bleaker moments, of his destructive capabilities, mingle with the knowledge of our own mortality.

Literature has dealt with variations on this theme before: Was Lord of the Flies a look at the tribal world of children without adult supervision or was it really a look at adult behavior as revealed by child characters mirroring what they would become? In Weintraub’s children's world, there is despair and anger. But this is evidence of his hope for the future because anger and aggression are the antidotes to victimization. The children are clearly refusing their legacy. They want or need more of some unidentified adult beneficence and are confused and angry because of its absence. Upset by their worldly inheritance-- which depending on the headline of the day, appears to be a liability no one would choose to inherit--they ponder the path they must take: isolation and withdrawal into a protected dome like existence or righteous aggression as they fight the failure of their forefathers to create a more benign, harmonious world.


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