January 11, 2007 - Warehouse Gallery - Faux Naturel
January 11, 2007

Faux Naturel

Faux Naturel
Alex Da Corte / Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby / Nick Lenker / Annie MacDonell / Allyson Mitchell / Andrea Vander Kooij
9 Nov 2006 – 27 Jan 2007

Curated by Astria Suparak

The Warehouse Gallery
350 West Fayette Street
Syracuse, New York 13202

www.thewarehousegallery.org

The North American artists presented in Faux Naturel are young enough to have grown up with a more informed sense about the environment, with Earth Day pre-printed on calendars and global warming existing as more than just a theory. These artists explore the territory delineated by the destruction of the natural world, with all its attendant themes. Entropy, redemption, apocalypse, the fall from grace, the temptations of commercial culture, and the relationship between science and magic all emerge as motifs in this exhibition.

With the addition of a new sound at its head, the French phrase au naturel becomes a strange twist on its original meaning. It is no longer naked, plain, unadulterated, without artificial ingredients. Faux naturel is translated as “fake naturalness”: Having the appearance of genuineness, with, perhaps, intent to deceive or an inability to remain true. It may evoke a dreadlocked, barefoot hippie perfumed by Chanel, or an amusement park log ride made of molded plastic bark. Faux Naturel is the title of this exhibition, used without the stigma of insincerity. There is an authenticity in these artists’ practices, stripped of trendy cynicism. Many of the works draw from personal stories–sublimations of painful experiences reclaimed and reshaped into something beautiful and heartfelt, with the power to transform.

Death and mutation have become means for betterment in the hands of Nick Lenker and Allyson Mitchell. In CloudKill, Lenker has given new life to a cat beyond its nine allotments, by casting its found body into a set of ceramic multiples. Created out of mud and reborn in the flames of a kiln, each eternally sleeping head has been resurrected for a social fear Lenker has slain. CloudKill is mounted on the wall like a collection of trophies for an underappreciated skill.

Rather than supporting skins from a hunter’s spree, styrofoam taxidermy forms become the seeds for a new breed of animal in Allyson Mitchell’s series of sculptures. A mix of the synthetic and the natural, these creatures look like the result of nuclear waste, acid rain, and artificial sweeteners. Mitchell explains her use of “‘domestic’ materials to depict the ‘undomesticated’ feral female animal as it represents an endangered part of the human psyche.” These hot pink, rare mammals casually display their nipples (rendered as felt flowers by the artist) without the shame or self-consciousness that female humans learn through social conditioning.

There is a sense that reality has been thwarted, that the subjects’ lives have been stilled at their most fetching moments in both Mitchell and Annie MacDonell’s works.

For more information, visit www.thewarehousegallery.org

The Warehouse Gallery is Syracuse’s newest contemporary art space exhibiting and commissioning work by international artists. The gallery’s mission is to engage the community in a dialogue regarding the role the arts can play in illuminating the critical issues of our times.

Upcoming exhibitions:

February – March 2007 Embracing Winter

April – July 2007 Networked Nature with Rhizome.org

July August 2007 Faux Naturel travels to the Foreman Art Gallery at Bishops University, Quebec

August – October 2007 Glam: Rock vs. MetalAugust 21 October 27, 2007

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