Source of Light and Darkness I, 2012, acrylic & charcoal on canvas, 18" x 18" (photo by Tom VanEynde)
APRIL 19TH-JUNE 16TH, 2013
POST-APOCALYPTIC TRASH PAINTINGS
In this series of paintings, Kathie Shaw is seeking to produce metaphorical images which interpret in an iconic way the potential future resulting from man’s unchecked use of power, power literally both to transform and to destroy. Within our current historic context, the way power is used could potentially put the very fate of the planet into question.
Civilization has collapsed any number of times in the past, but increasingly there are reasons to believe that the earth’s delicate balance could be so thrown off by human activity that the very existence of the human race and all other forms of life on the planet may eventually be at risk. There is no past scenario to draw on for information about the extremes we are facing. In human culture there is a long history of protesting harm and producing agitprop as warning. This, in the end, is the simple reason for the Post-Apocalyptic Trash Paintings.
The charcoal medium itself is fragile and fugitive, a direct metaphor for burning and destruction. At the same time the flat ultra black of the charcoal draws the viewer in with its seductive qualities. The pictures themselves depict subjects either directly or inferentially that are laden with the mysteries of the power they have produced. These technologically sublime structures are produced and, also at times, destroyed by man. Meanwhile, understanding their construction and the complexity of their usefulness are beyond the knowledge of most. The structures depicted in these works; electrical power lines, oil rigs, an Olympic sports stadium, or the steel remains of nuclear warfare are all shown as blackened silhouettes or as ravaged hulks. These blackened images are each seen against a sky that feels heavily burdened by the results of too much energy and power being unleashed into the atmosphere. Though they may possess a certain beauty, they are dirty and dripping with the unknown. The impermanence of man’s power over nature is inferred.
Curated by Sandra Binion.
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