Colored Warnings

Exhibition: Thursday, August 27th through Thursday, September 17th
Opening Reception:Thursday, August 27th from 5:00pm-8:00pm
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Colored Warnings: A look at Contemporary Politics through a Science Fiction Lens

After World War II (1939-45) there was a sudden change in the way Americans saw themselves in relation to where the nation was headed. Science fiction was the narrative genre that best captured this shift, from an aesthetic of hope and progress, to that of fear and paranoia. There was a sudden awareness of ‘us’ and ‘them’ as divide. ‘Them’ were depicted as aliens or monsters, foreigners, government agents and neighbors. Alienation of the individual from power was foreseen in George Orwell’s 1984 (1949). Xenophobia replaced hope in Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956). Post war attitudes directed new expectations for daily life and redefined the idea of evil.

Since the beginning of Operation Desert Shield (1990) America has found itself in perpetual war, from Bosnia to Afghanistan. As we move forward in time, we begin to experience a world where drones have replaced humans on the battlefield and robot prosthesis is becoming more culturally visible. Revisiting ideas of colonization, technological change and human progression, COLORED WARNINGS captures an imagined future, which reflects on the war-torn landscape of the present.

The work collected by these three artists are inspired by the past, indicative of the present and representative of the future.

About the Curator

Craig Campbell is an artist investigating the potential of human relations outside of globalized western ideas of humanism. He analyzes superficial social expectations within his work, to gain a deeper understanding of what connects the different human tribes. He uses both existing and fictional people as subjects in his work, distorting and skewing their visible being until he can understand them within an altered space or different social context. These works are evidence of his attempts to connect with others around him as well as the byproducts of his exploration. The foundation of his research is feminist theory and an overall suspicion of his own western perspective.

About the Artists

Lewis Klahr
Yesterdays Glue 3

“Many commentators on the films of Lewis Klahr have noted their invocation of memory. Klahr collages together bits and pieces pulled from the detritus of our omnipresent image culture. His films catch a thread of something familiar just on the edge of fading into forgetfulness. He rescues a “forgotten future” from the dumps of mass-production, recalling childhood expectations that have proved elusive. We have already discarded these images torn from comic strips, old school textbooks, take-out menus, magazine advertisements — so why do they haunt us?  Klahr’s films generate a blend of melancholy and desire from this interplay of grasping and losing, remembering and forgetting.  We must balance these demands while watching his films or we risk losing their deepest lessons. Our shared desire to grasp and retain images from childhood can make his images appear mawkishly nostalgic or sentimental.  But on the other hand, recognizing the inadequacy of these childish dreams, their flimsy kitschy nature, can make his film seems sarcastically camp, condescendingly dismissive of the popular culture in which they sometimes seem to drown. Moments of both nostalgia and satire exist in Klahr’s films, but we need to grasp how they confront and transform each other.

Klahr’s films tell stories uniquely. Many of his film resemble the fever dream of a child who has binged on sci-fi comics and TV detective shows. The icons of these pulp genres merge in a crazy-quilt style, as if shaken out of their logic of dramatic consequence by a traffic collision or a drug haze.   Their surface appears like a jigsaw puzzle, transformation and metamorphosis dominating over action. We follow a road trip through a dreamscape, tracing a trajectory befogged by memory and hallucination, where nothing remains consistent. But a thread of action tugs us along, just as it pulls these cutout characters through tableaux of desire and situations of peril.”   Tom Gunning, University of Chicago
Mike Rothfeld

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As the ability of special effects to pass as reality increases, a viewer’s reliance on imagination and suspension of disbelief decreases. I am interested in how this affects one’s ability to imagine new futures, various experiences of temporality and what is considered authentic. Operating within a multi-disciplinary practice, I primarily make lo-fi, often clumsy, set pieces and props. Imagery from science fiction and science reality are my source materials and set and prop construction techniques borrowed from the cinema and theatre are the basis for my methods of production. My materials range from the low-tech craft of paper mache to higher-tech items like Arduinos and custom LED systems.

Philip Gann

Philip Gann Seagulls Planet
I am an artist working primarily in sculpture. My work is about unearthing the foundation of my identity. The questions that loom over me are, who are you? and what are you doing here? My current bodies of work are referencing my childhood interest and adolescent atmospheres. Through the creation of miniature landscapes, toy guns, and use of iconic imagery, I seek to produce works of art unique to my identity. Exploring both the pop-culture and individual self-culture we find ourselves products of our environment.

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