Balance and Power

Balance and Power

Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University

Jenny Marketou, 99 Red Balloons, 2005, installation

October 27, 2006

Balance and Power
Fall 06 exhibitions at The Rose Art Museum include a look at performance and surveillance in video art, and a large-scale installation by Clare Rojas

Rose Art Museum
Brandeis University
415 South Street
Waltham, MA 02453

Amid unprecedented concern over privacy and security issues in America and abroad, The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis this fall will feature a look at artists uses of surveillance techniques related to performance art and government spying systems.

Michael Rush, the Henry and Lois Foster Director of The Rose, will curate the timely exhibit called Balance and Power: Performance and Surveillance in Video Art.

This exhibit examines both the early days of video art as well as current practices, Rush said. Its an attempt to understand the complex relationship between voluntary acting for the camera and involuntary taping by a camera on the part of power systems that have an interest in the movement of citizens. The exhibition will run Sept. 21 through Dec. 17, 2006.

Also this fall, The Rose will present a large-scale installation by California-based artist Clare Rojas called Hope Springs Eternal. The exhibition, her first solo show in New England, will be on display from Sept. 21, 2006 through April 1, 2007.

Balance and Power features work by a diverse group of artists, from early video pioneers such as Andy Warhol, Vito Acconci, and Bruce Naumann, to emerging practitioners such as Jill Magid and Tim Hyde. Other international artists are Sophie Calle, Jim Campbell, Peter Campus, Jordan Crandall, Harun Farocki, Subodh Gupta, Kevin Hamilton, Tiffany Holmes, Paul Kaiser and Shelley Eshkar, Kristin Lucas, Steve Mann, Jenny Markatou, Jonas Mekas, Muntadas, Martha Rosler, Julia Scher, and Kiki Seror.

Balance, says Rush, can be described as an essential talent for the performer, while power is the essential currency of surveillance. The terms are interconnected through themes such as star culture, identity theft, privacy and cultural paranoia, he said.

Many of these psycho-social phenomena are reflected in the current mega success of reality TV. People voluntarily allow themselves to be taped openly and surreptitiously. Surveillance becomes performance and vice versa, Rush said.

The exhibit will feature a dozen video installations in a uniquely designed space created by Antenna Design Group in New York. There will be large-scale installations, single channel tapes, and newly commissioned work. The exhibition was originally organized by the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois.

Rojas, a native of Columbus, Ohio, incorporates different media styles of painting, installations, film, printmaking, quilting, and music in a complementary fashion. The project is curated and organized by The Roses chief curator, Raphaela Platow.

Rojass work is influenced by American folk art, particularly by the history, material, and aesthetics of quilts. Her paintings usually include themes surrounding women and animals in stylized landscapes. Rojas is the fourth recipient of Brandeiss Ruth-Ann and Nathan Perlmutter Artist-in-Residence Award. For her show, Rojas will work with students and other members of the Brandeis community.

Rojas has a personal style and iconography that provides many references to the folkloric traditions of quilting, fairy tales and European fables. The natural environment featured in her work such as trees, flowers, bodies of water and clouds are transformed into simple, pattern-like shapes.

Women of all ages and colors in simple patterned dresses are commonly found in Rojass work. The smiling, strong and confident women interact with other women, little girls, men, animals and nature. On the other hand, men with slumping soft bodies are often depicted naked in simple, flowing lines and in poses normally assumed by women in fashion magazines. These images reverse imposed sexual roles and the objectivation of female bodies in art and the media.

In addition to her visual artistry, Rojas performs under the name of Peggy Honeywell and has released five albums, four of which she also produced.
About the Rose Art Museum at Brandeis

Opened in 1961, The Rose Art Museum has one of the most distinguished collections of modern and contemporary art in New England. Each year, The Rose organizes highly acclaimed special exhibitions and collection displays, presenting a mix of international, national and local artists.

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October 27, 2006

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