Futureland 2012 @AR4T Gallery : Review by Chantal deFelice
The pertinent timing of AR4T Gallery’s current group show, “Futureland 2012 : The American Flag” is no coincidence. While the pieces are not without some criticism of social issues, the overall theme is one of constructive unity, a much needed reminder in these divisive times of the aspects of this country that render us grateful.
An abundance of red, white and blue, as well as a tendency by the artists to use wood and other materials to build three-dimensional versions of the flag, recall simple foundational ideals and an historically independent approach to development.
The most elaborate of these sculpted flags, is Corey Smith’s “Obsolete Machines”, a pair of wooden fighter jets dangling in the window of the gallery like giant paper airplanes emblazoned with a patriotic triad of colors, evoking more childs’ plaything than weapon of destruction. In muted contrast, is Danny Schutt’s “US Flag”, made from seasoned wood planks, stained and carved in a way that suggests that the natural elements themselves happened to create the iconic pattern.
Patrick Carrie’s “Be Good” is like a flag puppet, reminiscent of a sixties cartoon, beaming blissfully ignorant and bearing a message of peace that might feel ironic if the caricature didn’t seem so damn sincere. On the other side of the gallery, David Blake taps into the insatiable element of our national history with a salvaged gas pump, titled “Pay at the Pump Chump”, complete with a screen printed definition of “addiction”.
The largest collective piece in the show is “Treatent Work Study #47 : Fabric of the American Dream”, a grid of sixteen prints on wood block by Zachary Egge. The entire set is to be sold as a unit, connecting the characters in each photographic portrait like squares in a quilt, stitched with our simultaneously delicate and resilient commonalities.
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Pictured above: Patrick Carrie BE GOOD TO EACHOTHER / Header image: Sophie St. Onge TO A BRIGHT FUTURE