Mel Chin’s Lamentation & Drawings presents three recent sculptural works the artist refers to as “Lamentations”. Safe, Shape of a Lie and More to Tell are included, as well as a series of new drawings on assorted surfaces (currency, cardboard, papyrus and Chinese paper) appropriately called Fun(d) and Games.
Mel Chin is internationally recognized as one of the most important artists of his generation who, since the 1970s, has created artworks that join cross-cultural aesthetics with complex ideas and address political, social and ecological issues. In all of his work, Chin explores the way art can provoke greater social awareness and responsibility. The artist is known for creating artworks in a broad range of media: art objects, temporary installations, video, film, television, cartoons and permanent public sculpture whose methodology often involves an extensive process of community participation.
Shape of a Lie offers a psycho-biomorphic portrait of a lie. Utilizing material with cultural and historic associations (bronze is thought of as an established Old World art metal and catlinite is the sacred treaty-sealing pipestone of the New World) the piece surreally stresses the urgency of self examination in the midst of a new rhetoric that we Americans have been mastering since 2001. More to Tell is carved from a single walnut log with inserted sound components. It implores one to listen for the voice of the living and not focus solely on the mutilating horrors of Sierra Leone which turn one away. Safe, made of wood, nails, paint and canvas, is a lamentation on the continuing tragedy that is the Congo. All three works were initially presented in the survey exhibition “Do Not Ask Me” at the Station Museum of Contemporary Art in Houston in 2006.