Chemical Reactions

September 2 – October 24
Opening Reception: September 16, 6-8pm
Curator: Maddy Rosenberg

The basic elements of who we physically are can be said to be chemical, but certainly it goes beyond our biological selves and into our selves. The thirteen artists in this exhibition experiment with their own chemical analysis. An artist applies a solution to paper and watches as the paper is transformed by it, not merely on the surface but deep within it, to change at its core its essence – forever. Or, at least, until the next exposure to the elements. A chemical reaction can turn us into gentle doves – or vicious killers; sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently. Were the Romantic poets just a cultural phenomenon or the result of a chemical imbalance? When we love madly, is it not more appropriate to say we love chemically? We all have experienced our reactions to chemistry, with chemistry and by chemistry. These artists experiment with their own chemical analysis.

W. David Powell’s quirky photo collages present us with a witty spin on a pinch of reality mixed with the laboratory while Peter Thomashow breathes life into his curious chemically related sculptures. Irving Geis, noted scientific illustrator, brings the scientist’s imaginings to a luminous substantive representation of his own device, often seeing humor in the scientific conundrum.

Sabra Booth collages the chemistry of love in an unrelenting tale of its repercussions resultant in female troubles, or troubles to females. Pamela Matsuda-Dunn denies us entry into a chemistry text only to have it blossom above, while Todd Bartel‘s text inspired form mimics his seriously playful diagramming of the chemistry of life. Lizzie Burns, both Oxford scientist and artist, lets us wear our chemicals externally, as they adorn our bodies in ornamentation. Fellow artist/scientist, Julian Voss-Andreae also takes his training into the realm of the object, presenting more than mere modeling of our chemical make-up in his bold abstracted sculptures.

Myriam Solar provides us with a visually induced chemical reaction in her rhythmic video. With Paul Tecklenberg we watch the rusting of an orange in another kind of sequence, as an image of a simple fruit through a chemical process becomes further alienated from the original. Jeffrey Allen Price in his own exploration of the visual effects of rust, stacks symbols rusted on paper, forming grids reminiscent of the periodic table, as Cheryl Safren offers us up a periodic table worthy of Paul Klee. The collaborators known as Metron (Diane Jones-Parry and Annabel Ralphs) document a bluing factory before it disappeared, leaving this work and only the residual dust as a memory. After all, the final chemical reaction ultimately leaves us, ourselves, as dust.

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