Booth Gallery is proud to present “Not all Doors Are The Same.” A survey of contemporary Surrealism curated by Michael J Ruple and Rob Zeller.
Featuring works by Jamie Adams, Ronit Baranga, Inka Essenhigh, Miles Jonhston, Adam Miller, Gretchen Sherer, Deng Shiqing, Dasha Shishkin, Abigail Tullis, Martin Wittfooth and Rob Zeller
Not all Doors Are The Same adopts its name from a print by the Surrealist Max Ernst (shown above) from his collection of collaged prints entitled, The Hundred Headless Women (1929). The Surrealist movement itself may be over a hundred years old, but it is still relevant to contemporary artists working in seemingly unlimited variations on the original themes of the 1920s. This exhibition seeks to explore those directions in the contemporary practice of 11 artists in the genres of painting, sculpture, and installation.
Not all the artists brought together for this exhibition self-identify as Surrealist, per se, but each uses some variation on the primary themes of Surrealism in a personal and diverse manner. Many of the modalities of Surrealism still maintain contemporary currency: presenting the familiar as unfamiliar and uncanny, the juxtaposition of seemingly unrelated imagery, and the use of absurdity to critique political or social issues, and a subconscious obsession with the sexual. A seemingly ordinary scene can be alternately absurd, exotic, and sensual, allowing a window into that artist’s subconscious.
Another distinguishing aspect of the Surrealist movement was its sense of place, a concept of constructing a world of one’s own in an internal headspace within, populated by a cast of characters and themes unique to that particular artist. The artists assembled for this show have many differences and some interesting similarities of vision in this regard. Inka Essenhigh’s enigmatic Power Plant juxtaposes urban and rural imagery, the manmade and the natural, in a setting that features an intertwining ring of lyrical, rhythmic trees surrounding a power plant of mythical construction. The power plant looms over the scene in a haunted, somewhat confrontational manner. A mysterious, unnatural green light is generated from within, bursting through its front door, perhaps about to upset the balance between Man and Nature.
In Dasha Shiskin’s Excitement, Trout in the Public’s Trousers, we see a large tableaux of intertwined, fantastical figures. Statuettes of saints and stuffed animals lie adjacent to one another in a composition that evokes Hieronymus Bosch as much as it does Weimar Republic Expressionism. The fantastical composition painted is painted in a Millennial palette of pastel blue, greens, and pinks, cartoon-like in its odd sexuality.
Jamie Adams compositions often take the form of sensual, gender-fluid visual collages that are blurred and fragmented in some areas, much like a memory that is fading from recollection, and very focused in others. In Blond Bubba and His Rainbow World, he has created a mythical, multiple-figure spectacle that references many diverse visual sources and influences, from John Currin to Titian and Rembrandt, using a Technicolor palette that plays off the monochromatic underpainting of some of the figures.