Barack Obama is president, the stock market is rebounding as a result of a genius bailout plan that didn't involve taxpayer's money, jobs are on the rise, socialized healthcare is a reality - wait did I just see a flying pig (with pink lipstick) outside my window? The sobering reality is that even with our most historic presidential inauguration imminent, the world is still in a very dark place. We are in the midst of a worldwide economic crisis and a deepening recession here in the US. Wars continue and there is social unrest on a global scale. Somewhere in the middle of the English Channel there is a little boy looking frightened. "Mummy" he says, "I don't want to go to France". She looks at her boy sternly and replies, "Shut up and keep swimming".
All the artists in Shut Up and Keep Swimming grapple with the psychological fallout from the effects of a dystopian society. Human misery, violence, oppression, poverty, disease, pollution and an impending sense of doom - all things that were once relegated to the pages of some apocalyptic, science fiction novel are now part of our daily world reality.
Ricky Allman, Chris Barnard, MB Boissonault, Jessalyn Haggenjos, Robert Billings, Eve Wood, Sean Higgins and Machine Histories collectively reject the media filter and bring the viewer face to face with their critique of the dystopian planet. The exhibition includes painting, photography, and mixed media sculpture. As Joseph Beuys famously said, “Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system…”
Darkly satirical, politically charged and just plain funny, Shut Up and Keep Swimming is a commentary on America, plunged into the deep end with no inflatable water wings in sight.
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