In developing the concept for this exhibition we were interested in the experience of observation and perception. “Double Down” is a group show featuring fifteen artists whose included works deal with associations of reciprocal relationship, establishing intrinsic dialogues within one, or between multiple complementary and oppositional objects, putting the viewer in a different relationship to the work. Instead of an immediate reaction (dialogue) between the viewer and the artwork, here the viewer, in a sense, becomes witness or voyeur to the relationship.
The reciprocal aspect of “Double Down” also references corresponding phenomena outside the show, such as the reality we experience today where everything seems highly polarized, in politics especially, where fake news or alternative facts can confuse reason and perception. This was, in part, the germ of the idea for this show. In our current environment there is a sense of, one on side, a double world or a parallel world: double visioning, fracturing, shifting, with a concurrent doubling down of dogmatic statements, alternative reality. This schism of perception and reality creates a sense of unease.
The works in this exhibition present multiple perspectives on this idea of reciprocal interaction, from serious to satirical. John O’Connor’s painting “Sophia and Jackson” takes as its subject the most popular female and male baby names in 2014 and imagines different life trajectories for two individuals born on the same day: “Binary lives becoming non-binary incrementally.” Lynn Talbot’s “Double World” takes on the visual shadow world in a painting combining classic still life elements juxtaposed with text suggesting an upside down world. In Jean Blackburn’s “Untitled (chairs)” sculpture two chairs are carved away and begin to merge at the knees, fragments from one have fallen away and are spliced into the other.
Imagery in Darina Karpov’s “Slow Dazzle I” is fractured and refracted, creating an expanding and / or collapsing visual field. Jim Torok’s double take-effect, diptych portraits reveal subtle differences in the features of his subjects that escape easy detection as it is only possible to view one at a time, suggesting the shifting qualities in all of us. In the J. Fiber diptych, “He Said, She Said,” husband and wife artist collaborators draw the same caricature revealing nuances of technique and hand. Andrew Ohanesian’s “Slots” are two repurposed Double Diamond Slot Machines encouraging the viewer / participant to deposit money and take a spin. A winning ticket is worth the dollar amount printed on its face but is not redeemable for said amount. And in Jane Dickson’s painting, “Wheel of Fortune,” a row of people sit mesmerized by the spinning of lottery wheels before them, seemingly frozen in place, doubling down, and incapable of stepping away.