Cry Hope, Cry Fury
Aran Cravey Gallery is pleased to present Cry Hope, Cry Fury, a group show of works by Joshua Callaghan, Bas Louter and Fay Ray.
Taking its title from a short story found in his collection, Vermillion Sands, Cry Hope, Cry Fury is an exhibition inspired by the work of late British author, J.G. Ballard. At the intersection between post-apocalyptic dystopia and technologically induced psychosis, J.G. Ballard’s literature stands as the definitive portrait for the culturally corroded reality of a media driven society. Four years after his death, the provocative predictions of the writer of such iconic works as Empire of the Sun and Crashcontinue to ring true as human interaction becomes increasingly more manipulated by mechanized forces. Generations of artists from Robert Smithson and James Turrell to the members of Radiohead have found inspiration within the verdantly barren, but imaginatively rich desert landscapes of his stories.
In the decadent, desert resort town of Vermillion Sands, the fictitious location for his collection of short stories by the same name, Ballard paints a picture of a last stop destination for the “glossy, lurid and bizarre,” a sort of post-apocalyptic Palm Springs. Amidst the “has-beens” and “never-weres” of Vermillion Sands, Ballard shapes a surrealist topography of sand seas and monolithic dunes, where fantastical works of art like cloud sculptures and self-painting portraits capture both the internal and external sensations of the modern experience. Like many Ballardian predictions, the mutant art works of Vermillion Sands no longer seem as outrageous as when first created. The works chosen for the exhibition explore the diverse mediums and methodology that are themselves, pastiches of our contemporary environment. The speed at which technology defines reality, also determines the evolution of our aesthetic language, an ever-expanding lexicon of materials and modes that could have been written by Ballard himself.
I suspect that many of the great cultural shifts that prepare the way for political change are largely aesthetic. A Buick radiator grille is as much a political statement as a Rolls Royce radiator grille, one enshrining a machine aesthetic driven by a populist optimism, the other enshrining a hierarchical and exclusive social order.