Prevailing Climate examines two meanings of climate: the average course of a location’s weather conditions and the feeling or atmosphere that characterizes a period in time. Using severe weather and natural disasters as points of departure, Prevailing Climate comments on the various consequences of man’s actions on nature and society, and in doing so, examines the tragedy, fear and distrust that connects our history, politics, consumerism and mass media.
Based on documentary photographs culled from the Internet, Joy Garnett’s apocalyptic paintings evoke romantic landscapes that explore the conflict of culture, technology and politics through a decontextualized media lens. Using disaster photos from newspapers as the basis for somber, gray-scale paintings that feature anonymous human figures, Boukje Janssen awakens the deep psychology of the original images’ subjects that may be lost in the overload of images in the mass media. John Jurayj combines imagery of war-torn Lebanon taken from journalistic images and personal travel and employs a variety of painterly tropes to investigate territory, genealogy and displacement, creating a disequilibrium interlaced with exuberance, melancholia and political disturbance. Jason Middlebrooks landscapes are in-depth examinations of land as sites loaded with symbolism and history, reflecting in particular, on the devastating effects of land development on indigenous plant, animal life and human life.
Questions of empowerment and participation are at the core of Andrea Bowers’ artistic practice. Imbued with social, political and feminist critique, her video projects, drawings, photography and sculpture are reminders of the continued struggle for rights in anticipation of the political landscape of the future. Crafting simulated consumer goods out of soft vinyl sewn together with long, uncut lengths of thread, Margarita Cabrera explores the economic gap between those who manufacture consumer goods and those who purchase them. Yumi Janeiro Roth transforms everyday objects into forms that contemplate our relationship with material culture and the language of design vis-à-vis function. Domestic objects such as kitchen towels, for example, have been altered so as to serve as distributors of information and propaganda in our fear-driven and safety-prepared society. Catarina Leitao offers a refuge from the urban environment in her Artificial Retreat Devices (A.R.D.), portable tents designed to satisfy the desire for escape. Color and audio simulate a natural experience in order to provide a superficial retreat.
Anna von Mertens’ hand-stitched works depict the rotation of the stars during violent moments in history, functioning as a memorial, landscape and as a study of astrological forces. More importantly, von Mertens reminds us of the deep psychological impact that history has on our lives and yet, the cycle of nature is oblivious and imapssive to its violence. Christoph Draeger, Anthony Discenza and Karina Aguilera Skvirsky reconstruct images from the mass media to investigate the ways in which information is dispersed. Draeger collects images and translates them into a variety of media including video, photography and painting. His “disaster jigsaw puzzles” suggest that the media conveys disasters to the public in the form of entertainment. Skvirsky appropriates and transforms media coverage of victims of war and natural disasters into cinematic compositions that critically investigate media’s intentions and cultivation of our interpretation of events and their implications. Discenza culls visual material from commercial film and telvision, reorganizing, compressing and collapsing original information into a moment of simultaneous destruction and reification.
Questioning the nature of authority, Type A’s photograph “Ours/Theirs” exposes and imitates the subjective meaning of the Prime Meridian. By creating their own “line” and documentation of evidence, they expose the arbitrary nature of Greenwich Mean Time and the “civilized” world’s measure of time and space. Joan Linder’s pen and ink drawings explore and claim the sub-technological process of observation and mark making. Her series of images of bound bodies, void of human presence, are suggestive of power play as a tool in both sexual and political practices. Eric Anglès’ quarterly publication is a blank broadsheet newspaper that is circulated via placement in arbitrary sites and on a free subscription basis. Lacking content of images of any kind, the publication instead bears only the marks of the printing process itself, a nod to the potential for information to stand in for knowledge.