End of Days
Mixed Greens is thrilled to present End of Days, a group exhibition featuring the work of Jessica Cannon, Bonnie Collura, Erin Dunn, Susan Hamburger, Valerie Hegarty, Patrick Jacobs, Brian A. Kavanaugh, Sophia Narrett, Hilary Pecis, Seth Scantlen, Melanie Schiff, and Dana Sherwood. As an introduction to our 2012 schedule, this exhibition explores the notion of revelation—both apocalyptic and transcendent. Each artwork functions as a moment of suspended time, capturing the world in a state of silent reflection, imagined ecstasy, mangled deterioration, or a complicated combination of all three. In a nod to Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights and the dozens of end-of-the world scenarios circulating around the year 2012, this exhibition focuses on visual anxieties, and considers an end scenario that is for some a paradise, and for others a paradise lost.
Brian A. Kavanaugh’s large-scale piece, Three Gardens, depicts three states of the afterlife. The chaotic, collaged scenes use Bosch’s painting structure to re-imagine contemporary imagery in a satirical and over-the-top display of what awaits us on the other side. In a similar fashion, Hilary Pecis’s Kingdom presents an ecstatic version of heaven. The digitally collaged fantasyland combines castles in the clouds with fluffy kittens and doves. Using the results of Internet image searches, Pecis’s paradise is idealized to the point of hysterical whimsy. Erin Dunn’s video is an animated, anxiety-filled journey through a hallucinogenic garden. She presents an alternate otherworld in which vibrant color, painting, unidentified creatures, and plastic bobbles coexist.
Sophia Narrett and Patrick Jacobs present ambiguous scenes suggestive of the hereafter. Narrett’s painterly embroidery illustrates a gathering of people in a garden. Her elegant and diverse characters are inexplicably brought together in a collective experience of the sublime. They appear frozen, suspended in endless anticipation of an imminent event. Jacobs’s sculpture is a glowing porthole onto a landscape depicting an impossible infinity beyond the gallery’s wall. Both works suggest a moment of otherworldly transcendence—both physical and metaphysical.
A large-scale installation by Valerie Hegarty overtakes a portion of the front gallery and a seemingly long-neglected gallery wall succumbs to overgrowth. Tree branches, foliage, and water damage rupture and rot the artwork-adorned surface. In a similar depiction of growth and its aftermath, Dana Sherwood’s photographic series captures a picture-perfect tableau of cakes and pastries, floating on a pond. The viewer is given glimpses of the Dionysian banquet and subsequent deterioration. In addition, Sherwood presents a vitrine holding a decadent cake and its inhabitants—white mice. Over the course of the opening and then the entirety of the show, the mice will eat through the cake and transform its structure into a functional habitat. What remains of Hegarty’s and Sherwood’s worlds are clues to the overindulgence and exhilaration before collapse.
Bonnie Collura’s Prince 2 is a large, mixed media sculpture skillfully merging historical figures, pop icons, fairy tales, and Greek mythology into a hybrid character. Seth Scantlen’s mixed media on panel represents a similar conglomeration of bodies. The melting, dancing, tumbling visions of flesh and limbs in both paint and plaster conjure up visions of an Inferno-esque slush in the land of the Gluttons. They both speak to the conflation of religious and secular imagery in our hyper-saturated world.
Jessica Cannon’s acrylic on paper, Echoes of the Future, is a sprawling landscape dotted by bursts of white light. The ambiguous imagery is at once representative of rock concerts, explosions, ghosts of fallen buildings, or perhaps the afterimage one might leave when departing the earth in rapture. Melanie Schiff’s similarly figureless photographs use light, tunnels, bodies of water, and landscape to reference a moment of quiet transcendence where the subject of the photo is bathed in unearthly, meditative light. Finally, Susan Hamburger’s papier-mâché urns are a more direct memento mori. While first appearing to be a banquet full of pitchers and vases, the white funerary vessels, embellished with roaming lizards and other creatures, stand in as markers of existence.