New Installation: Scylla & Charybdis

Sunday, July 5th, 2015 | Art

My new exhibition is up, in Oakland, at the Mercury 20 Gallery. If you can’t make it to Oakland, no problem, just click on over!

It’s a photographic installation that I’m calling Scylla & Charybdis, after the two sea monsters that Odysseus had to choose between and sail past as he worked his way back to Ithaca and his beloved Penelope. Choosing between “Scylla and Charybdis” has come to mean choosing between two equally unpleasant options.

I’m looking at the gallery as the setting for a kind of aesthetic journey, inviting the viewer to contemplate new ideas about beauty through a visual engagement with our subliminal and overt anxieties about the body.

At the center of my installation are two 12-image photographic grids, composed of the same 12 black and white images, but arranged in different ways to evoke abstracted versions of the two creatures. The component images are closeup photos of the same large hairy male body.

A third grid, called “Swell” is composed of closeup photos of a man’s long white beard and furry shoulders, the images arranged to echo a tumultuous seascape, and bringing to mind Poseidon, the god of the sea.

Flanking the grids are large color images of spider webs. The webs are blurry, set against a lurid red background, creating a kind of psychologically charged space. Insects wander into spider webs, only to be trapped and devoured. My installation is an aesthetic trap, the viewer lured into my world, invited to wander through and consider a very different kind of artistic subject matter.

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