Tales Gone In Flocks and Herds
From the cave wall paintings in Lascaux to the depictions of the Chinese Zodiac, animals have been portrayed for centuries in art with important metaphorical significance and numerous symbolic meanings to tell the human story. “Tales Gone in Flocks and Herds” features the work of five contemporary artists who work in a variety of mediums including drawing, painting, sculpture, photography and installation that implement animals to tell their unique narratives. . The exhibition includes work by Jinwon Chang, Anne Catherine Becker Echivard, Michelle Frick, Hong Seon Jang, Fay Ku, and HoChul Lee. Jinwon Chang's forms made from bamboo and handmade paper are heavily influenced by Taoism. His fixation with fish and the sea stems from his fear of drowning. After three near-death experiences at sea he has become envious of the fish’s natural ability to swim. The heavy nature of his subject matter is contrasted to the physical lightness of his work. Chang tries to avoid using artificial materials in his sculptures by using cotton batting soaked with glue and milkweed pods.
Anne-Catherine Becker-Echivard uses real fish, dressed in costumes and placed within elaborate sets, in her photographs to re-create scenes of everyday human life that comment on contemporary themes at the heart of public debate such as prison, mass production work, the homeless, consumer society, pollution and global warming. Her photographs depict tales where fish symbolize humanity and become human caricatures that illustrate an ironic view of our consumer society.
Michelle Frick's installations are made of discarded medical monitors, intravenous line components, drain tubes, sensors, and disposable medical garb. Although eerie creatures, the birds can also be seen as a warm, hopeful presence amidst the cold, sterile hospital environment where they would never be found. After having two family members hospitalized for an extended period of time she was exposed to a wide variety of nurses' supplies and witnessed the aftermath of high-risk medical procedures. Her work implies a series of contradictions including nature and the synthetic world that sustains us, the resilience of the body and the power of medical technology, fear and sweetness, medical consumption and waste.
Hong Seon Jang is fascinated with the comparison of human activity and natural phenomena as it corresponds to the circulation of destruction and creation. His works intends to emphasize the tension between the aspects of dialectical contradictions existing in nature and society such as physical fragility and danger, motion and change, renewal and development, substance and
emptiness, creation and extinction His work are manipulated in natural forms that unveils the fundamental force of survival and growth.
Fay Ku draws on her personal and cultural history to create large scale drawings and paintings on paper of provocative imaginary scenes that explore themes of youth, identity and nature. The animals in her work become characters acting out autobiographical plots where they are at times portrayed as doppelgangers of their human counterparts. Ku’s use of animals draws comparison to the tradition in Chinese culture where one is asked how old they are by referring to the sign of animal that corresponds to the year they were born, in reference to the Chinese Zodiac. The specific traits and characteristics of the animal become an active part of an individual’s identity. It is important to note that Ku’s characters shape-shift from one animal to the next and in and out of human forms throughout her work.
HoChul Lee developed a rare “painting” technique using water and a blow-torch to create his compositions on wood panels. True to his materials, his images depict fish, insects and sea-creatures that are often found living in or close to the forest and water. Lee grew up in rural Korea surrounded by the vitality of nature. His uses of natural materials to create his hyper-realist subjects reflect his youth and set free besieged memories of the past.