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San Francisco

Michael Rosenthal Gallery

Exhibition Detail
Active
345 Village Lane
Los Gatos, CA 95030


April 28th, 2012 - June 1st, 2012
Opening: 
April 28th, 2012 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
 
Sad Angel  , Maja RuznicMaja Ruznic, Sad Angel ,
2011, mixed media on paper , 7”x5”
© Courtesy of the Artist and Michael Rosenthal Gallery
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> DESCRIPTION

Nicole Gordon

Gordon’s paintings, with obvious influences from Northern Renaissance painters Bruegel and Hieronymus Bosch to William Blake, are simultaneously religious and carnivalesque, each one illuminating one of the seven deadly sins as acted upon the planet. Gordon considers each sin from a purely environmental perspective, where, for example, gluttony is imagined as an apocalyptic oil-drilling scene, and envy as a surrealist diamond mine. The connection is hardly new, and the show doesn’t leave very much up to the analysis of the viewer in terms of theme or intellectual challenge. The paintings turn out to be most interesting in their hybrid style, which comprises a striking combination of quasi-realistic backgrounds and cartoon-like, overtly artificial foregrounded figures. This kind of visual mash-up seems to offer much more insight into the way we experience the world now—perhaps a comment on the simulacric way we interact with the natural environment (when we do so at all), where specific fictions have allowed such eco-holocausts to take place. However, the images themselves, from animals in gas masks to a childish depiction of a man being sodomized by a gas line, seem overly simplistic, and it’s hard to know how we’re to take the final image, “The Culmination,” which depicts a literal apocalypse, complete with a nuclear cloud in the distance; the artist statement claims these paintings reflect hope and a possibility for change, but other than the ambivalent style, the work itself shows the frustrating lack of complexity that underlies all propaganda, eco-friendly or otherwise. (Monica Westin)

Ariana Roesch

I  am interested in how we situate ourselves within a mechanized society. My work questions the physical and psychological structures that make up our everyday, ranging from essential building structures such as electrical wiring, to the basic conduct of how people communicate and behave. Since the human drive is not only to make things work but to constantly better the functionality of an object or system, as well as our selves, it conjures the question of sustainability. If we are always searching, looking for something better, when are we satisfied? And most importantly what are we looking for? My work turns this question of sustainability inward, addressing the viewer, rather than examining outside sources.

These questions are investigated using color, light, and textiles to create a sensory experience taking shape in objects and room-sized installations. Light is used to direct the viewer or make visible an electrical structure, either specific to the space or diagrammatic. Electroluminescent wire, which produces a continuous line of light, is applied in site-specific line drawings that perceptively dominate and change the space. The environments immerse the viewer in a phenomenological experience. I also create hand-constructed textile objects, titled PLAYMATES, which invite interaction with the audience.
Aiming to entice the viewer through a point of recognition and familiarity in the constructed objects and environments in a perceptual and sensory way, the work then has the possibility to create associations for the viewer, which leads to a heightened sense of awareness of how these elements manifest themselves in their life and what kind of role they play.
Maja Ruznic 
was born in Bosnia & Hercegovina, 1983  and now lives and works in San Francisco, CA. She has a BFA from the Univeristy of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA (2005) and an MFA from the California College of Arts, San Francisco, CA (2009)
Artist Statement
Over the past year or so, I have been drawing and painting people, objects and memories of experiences that evoke a sense of failure and trigger a sense of psychological unease that echoes my childhood refugee experience. In documenting these people, objects and events with highly editorialized and projected-upon personae, I am simultaneously preserving them and destroying who they actually are.  My intention in painting these subjects is to meditate on who they are and infuse them with a second chance.  I am interested in the repetitive nature of recording and the meditative and spiritual aspects of redemption.  The paintings become a collection of failed objects and experiences.  It is also an agglomeration of memory, imagination and misinformation I have collected over time. Through the glut of imagery and objects, I am interested in evoking the past, while fictionalizing it.  The figures in my small works on paper are Anti-Heroes, characters I have created based on my interest in those who live along the interstices of society—homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes, derelicts and vagabonds—individuals whose psychological state reminds me of my immigrant experience.

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