by Rhett Dugstad
What is most striking about Helene Brandt’s new show in the fifth floor Metro Gallery is how she reveals the relationship between organic elements and a mechanical world. She seamlessly interweaves both to show the full circle our Earthly history has travelled from organic to mechanical and back to organic again. Her sculptures are reminiscent of archeological artifacts, but this time discovered by future scientists in an apocalyptic world that has yet to has yet to emerge.
One can think of the ways machinery and organisms work together in the real world. We sometimes fail to appreciate how machines process our organic world into things we love. We subconsciously assume that plants are part of the machinery itself. All paper comes from trees mulched in a mill. Our fresh fruit smoothies need a blender. Our clothes are spun from cotton on a loom and are then sewn on a machine. In the artist’s work, plants seem to grow out of metal and metal out of plants, mimicking the positive aspects of our relationship with machinery and nature.
The organic and the industrial worlds have become so connected we often don’t think of them as separate. This is what Helene’s artwork reveals in her interpretation of this very old relationship between mankind and our environment.
Brandt’s use of color suggests the negative way plants and machines interact. Many of our foods are over-processed in order to have a long shelf life. For this, our bodies pay the price. Some of the work suggests that organic matter is being choked by mechanization. It expresses the negative way these things are connected in real life. But, the sculptures are created in such a beautiful way that it seems like a friendly reminder with the best of intentions.
See the exhibit for yourself!
Copyright © Rhett Dugstad
SUNY Empire State College
Metropolitan Center Gallery
325 Hudson St.,
5th Floor New York, NY 10013
Private viewings of the exhibit can be arranged by calling: 212 647.7800
Through April 17th, 2012