PATCHOGUE ARTS COUNCIL • MOCA L.I.
Kate Clark • Carla Gannis • Lori Horowitz • Mark Strodl
Curated by John Cino
November 7 – December 20, 2020
Artist Reception: November 7, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Artist and Curator Talk: November 12, 7:00 PM via Zoom & Facebook Live
The Patchogue Arts Council • MOCA, LI is proud to present New Visions from November 7 through December 20, 2020.
Writing this essay on Election Day seems to be appropriate. When New Visions was first conceived in late 2018 it was meant to be a conclusion to the Clear Vision programming for 2020 which highlighted the need for clarity of thought. By early 2020 the realization that the exhibit would open just after Election Day gave it added drama. As the year progressed it became more difficult to separate fact from fiction. Then came Covid 19, which significantly altered our nation’s trajectory and PAC MoCA LI programming for the remainder of the year. As curator of New Visions, I was frankly at a loss to anticipate what the collective zeitgeist of our nation would be on November 4. New Visions would then be an exhibition that doesn’t answer any questions; it would be one that asks them.
New Visions is divided along diametric oppositions, looking forward or back, embracing new technology or adapting older techniques, accepting our relationship with those technologies, or recovering our sense of the natural. New Visions ponders these oppositions with whimsy, surrealism, or a sense of the fantastic. New Visions also brings together artists from two communities. Kate Clark and Carla Gannis live and make art in Brooklyn with work exhibited internationally. Lori Horowitz and Mark Strodl are members of a vibrant Long Island community of artists, each having shown beyond our borders.
Sculptor Kate Clark turns the ancient art of taxidermy into something new as she creates hybrid creatures of animal bodies with ‘human’ heads. The heads are sculpted then covered in the same animal hide creating a seamless and believable transition from animal to human. By shaving the hair from the face Ms. Clark is able to reveal specific human emotions. In her portrait busts, She Deserves It (a pronghorn sheep) and Relentless (bear) exhibited at or above our eye level the viewer directly confronts these hybrid creatures. She exposes the joinery necessary to cover the hybrid’s face in a nod to the global tradition of decorative scarification. The busts also refer to the tradition of Roman portraiture which revealed each crease in the human face as a mark of character. As we gaze up into the eyes of these creatures we are asked to consider the majesty of these creatures while pondering our animal heritage. Charmed offers a full-bodied Springbok in a setting which suggests a natural history diorama, Ms. Clark recalls our long history of defining the complex relationship we have with the natural world. For Ms. Clark, the “fusion of human and animal… suggests our human condition is fully realized when we acknowledge our current state and our natural instincts”.
It is to the world of human artifice that new media artist Carla Gannis turns her attention creating a different hybrid reality between the virtual and physical. Working in a variety of platforms including video, virtual, and augmented reality, Ms. Gannis explores our need to define ourselves through our creations, performance, and internet art where she has created an avatar C.A.R.L.A. G.A.N. (Crossplatform Avatar for Recursive Life Action Generative Adversarial Network). She considers “a storyteller, rooted in Southern Gothic” derived from family history “and expanded into “Internet Gothic,” through her interests in speculative fiction and technology. Much of her work refers to art history in which she places herself (often literally as in the short video Babel in Wonderland) in a lineage of artists exploring the human condition. In The Garden of Earthly Emojis, she combines the dystopian vision of Renaissance artist Hieronymus Bosch with the contemporary language of the Emoji. Ms. Gannis seeks to “deconstruct rigid notions of reality and perception” and our ever-present need to document it validates our existence through the lens of our cell phone. In a series of ‘selfie drawings’ including Selfie Drawing 42 “Bunny,” she explores the need to continually validate our existence through the lens of our cell phone.
For Lori Horowitz, it is those whose existence is most precarious to which she calls her attention. In drawings, sculptures, and installations she creates compelling imagery into the lives of those most often overlooked, the undesirable or disadvantaged, creating intimate views into their being. Sculptures built on gauze and wire mesh depict these individuals in an ephemeral form in which their shadow is as important as the physical being. In her 2020 series Exodus, she draws her imagery from other beings living on the edge. Coastal cypress trees often grow just a few feet above the water table and put down roots that are often submerged. It roots “knees” which emerge from the ground and aid in their aeration. A cypress tree may produce dozens of knees, each with a unique gnarly form. For Ms. Horowitz, the knees are source material and metaphor for tenacity and precariousness. Inspired by their unique forms, she has photographed the knees hundreds of times. Looking into these images she finds traces of human form which are subtly completed in colored pencil.
Mark Strodl is a photographer, digital collagist, and self-avowed surrealist. His works often picture humanity in a dystopian reality and as in Birdman, he will use a transformed version of himself which acknowledges the work of noted surrealist Rene Magritte. Mr. Strodl considers the deconstructive nature of surrealism as “a playful way to involve the viewer’s logic by tearing reality apart.” In Birdcages floating figures (another acknowledgment of Magritte) are encaged. They seem to be well dressed and many are most likely self-portraits. Do they refer to our collective engagement in our own reality or is it an indictment of the explosive growth of the American penal system? Mr. Strodl seeks to undermine “our concepts of reality…. altering our safe confines of truth. To have us all question & grow”. Yin Yang sets people in motion, as they migrate around ‘a world tree’ are they coming or going? Surrealism is not the only artistic reference in his work as two older works, Pergelitto and The Thinker (renamed Progetto) are combined with the more recent Paradiso to recall Dante’s Divine Comedy.
The artists of New Visions each alone might not offer a clear vision forward but taken together they might suggest a path. As a group, there are certainly differences in medium and subject. Taken together these differences work to build a dynamic exhibition where each voice has room to express itself without dominating the others.
– John Cino
From the Curator:
Opening just five days after the unresolved historic 2020 presidential election we find our nation precariously balanced awaiting the final outcome, fittingly New Visions does not offer solutions, for it seems that we can only be certain of uncertainty.
New Visions will be on display at MoCA LI (Museum of Contemporary Art, Long Island) 20 Terry St. Patchogue, NY from November 7 through December 20.
An artist’s reception is scheduled for Saturday, November 7, 6:00 – 8:00pm. An artist and curator talk is scheduled for Thursday, November 12, 7 pm.
What: New Visions
When: November 7 – December 20, 2020
Artist Reception: Saturday, November 7, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Artist and Curator Talk: November 12, 7:00 PM via Zoom & Facebook Live (Meeting ID: 948 3420 8836; Passcode: 428260)
Where: PAC • MoCA L.I., 20 Terry St, Suite 116, Patchogue, NY 11772
2020 Clear Vision
In a time when it is becoming nearly impossible to distinguish between fact and fiction, where journalists are accused of reporting fake news and where we are bombarded with misinformation, it is obvious what we need is Clear Vision. PACs festival season will include outdoor events, a thematic mural, sculpture garden, virtual programming, exhibitions and the MoCA Lights event.
This series of exhibitions each explore variations of Vision: clarity, veracity, integrity, ambiguity and ingenuity. Exhibits will include artists working in various mediums including painting, drawing, installation, sculpture, video, photography, new forms, and performance.
PAC • MoCA L.I. Clear Vision 20/20 programming is made possible with funding and support from the Patchogue – Medford Library,
New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA), Suffolk County Office of Film & Cultural Affairs, and Long Island Community Foundation (LICF)
ABOUT THE PATCHOGUE ARTS COUNCIL – The Patchogue Arts Council, Inc., was formed to encourage, support, and promote the arts. The Patchogue Arts Council is located at 20 Terry St., Suite 116, Patchogue NY. For more information visit www.patchoguearts.org, call 631-627-8686, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Instagram: @patchoguearts
Please help us continue to provide free programming and artist resources like the above!