Featuring: Cesar Cornejo (installation) Javier Cuellar (photography) Domenick Di Pietrantonio (installation) Ryan Hackett (painting & sound) Jenny Ham (video) Jodie Lyn-Kee-Chow (video) Bronwyn Minton (photography) Joey Piziali (installation with offsite actions) Justine Reyes (photography) Patrick Resing (installation)
Bronx, NY…. 10 international, national and local artists make their debut at the Bronx River Art Center in the summer exhibition, Freaks of Nature. The exhibition, as organized and curated by José Ruiz and Teneia Wooten, poses the question: Can nature be a successful subject in contemporary art without falling into the formal conventions of landscapes, au-plein-air aesthetics and the organic? In response, Freaks of Nature brushes off these traditional notions of nature in art while presenting the current climate of our environment through artist projects that mutate, synthesize and satirize artifice, decay and the resilience of humanity. Coming from a diverse set of places such as Bogotà, Lima, London, Jackson Hole, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and Washington DC, the artists present a 10-point perspective on the customary and extraordinary occurrences of nature as a mediator between destruction and creation. Collectively, it is an analytical stance that examines the apocalyptic underbelly of technology, science, global warming and pollution.
Cesar Cornejo’s installation is based on a city’s recent decision to build three public schools on a former rubbish dump while Domenick Di Pietrantonio’s site-specific installation, The Meek, presents the view of an eroded beach with toxic glowing horseshoe crabs. Derived from the temptations of scientific probing, Ryan Hackett’s paintings manipulate extinct and endangered animals and their skeletons to create a series of suggested “growths.” Meanwhile, Jenny Ham’s interdisciplinary project, TRACT, explores body, race and class through the parameters of occupied land and Joey Piziali’s site-specific installation with off-site actions chronicles the recreation of two silver maple trees (native to the Bronx River) and their subsequent re-integration throughout the streets of the Bronx.
About the Curators: José Ruiz is an artist and curator working in New York City and the Gallery Coordinator at the Bronx River Art Center. Ruiz’s recent curatorial projects have included Appropriately Yours at Transformer Gallery (Washington, DC) and Mind over Manner at the Bronx River Art Center. His work is currently the subject of two solo exhibitions: Descendents of Ascension, curated by Heng-Gil Han, at the Jamaica Center for Arts & Learning (Queens, NY) and Contemporary Fine Art Projects at Steven Wolf Fine Arts (San Francisco, CA).
Teneia Wooten resides in the Bronx, NY. She is currently pursuing an M. A. degree at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University. Freaks of Nature is her first curatorial project. Her next project is the proposed thesis entitled, Popular Technology Through the Lens of Afrofuturism: My Space®, Second Life® and Voxonic.