Lurking just beneath the gleaming facade of North America’s so-called Gilded Age of prosperity lies an underbelly of anxiety and uncertainty, hinting at the true nature of life in the early 21st-century. And although the art world has exploded in terms of commercial sales and record-breaking auction results, artists working within—or in many cases, against—that system have continued to lay the facts bare. We are now living in an age rife with war, jeopardized by constantly fluctuating stock markets, destabilized by an ever-growing mortgage crisis, unaffordable health care, government sanctioned torture and surveillance, widespread poverty and pocked with ever-increasing violence on our urban and rural streets. Simply stated, these are disquieting times, and artists, prone as they are to keep their finger on the pulse of society-at-large, are creating works that forego the brilliance of the art world's wealth, presenting us instead with the gritty and eye-opening reality of the grime that festers below.
The artists included in REAR/VIEW look not only at our detritus-strewn landscapes, but also examine the role of the human body in these turbulent times. They seem to look back at an age of innocence, 60’s utopian ideals of peace, love and understanding to a time in their lives when life was worth living. A strong sense of consternation is present throughout the works on display, whether it be a painting of a suburban landscape that might represent hell, or a movie starlet applying her make-up in the rearview mirror of a luxury car, before she completely melts down. The juxtaposition of bodies and spaces presented in REAR/VIEW will entice the viewer to enter into the fray, to question the status quo and attempt to find a way out of the quandary of contemporary life in North America. The artists in the exhibition, hailing from across Canada and both coasts of the United States, bring to New York a survey of reactions against the new Golden Age, fraught as it is with a pervasive fear that the good times, if they ever existed in the first place, are soon to be a thing of the past.