ClampArt is pleased to present “Arcadia,” a group exhibition including artworks by James Bidgood, Aziz + Cucher, Olaf Otto Becker, Stan Gaz, Karen Gunderson, Christopher Harris, Mark Jaremko, Lori Nix, Arthur Tress, Stephen Wilkes, Frank Yamrus, and Marc Yankus.
Arcadia refers to the Greek province of the same name that dates to antiquity. It is a mountainous, remote region, which in many accounts was the birthplace of the Greek god, Zeus; his son, Hermes; and also the home of Pan and his court of dryads, nymphs, and other spirits of nature. Arcadia came to be synonymous with paradise, and the name often refers to a utopian vision of pastoralism and harmony with the natural world.
In the dawn of the 21st century, amidst stock market crashes, Ponzi schemes, and global warming, the notion of the possibility of a modern-day Arcadia offers great solace, however unrealistic and out-of-reach.
Lori Nix’s photograph of an entirely false and fabricated paradise constructed in the confines of her Brooklyn studio out of cheap and artificial materials may be the most for which we can hope. Similarly, Aziz + Cucher’s mammoth shots of natural imagery which are then fragmented and distorted into fields of pixels by means of a series of digital filtering programs are along similar conceptual lines. And Karen Gunderson’s large black paintings, while based on actual landscapes she has personally seen, ultimately depict what are simply fantasy realms in our collective imagination, such as Shangri-La.
Artists Christopher Harris, Mark Jaremko, and Stephen Wilkes shoot images of the modern landscape, which is punctuated by traces of man’s hand, optimistically seeking shreds of halcyon experiences in this day and age.
Olaf Otto Becker, Stan Gaz, Frank Yamrus, and Marc Yankus, on the other hand, search for whatever remaining unspoiled, untouched vestiges of nature still remain—regions that appear yet uncorrupted by civilization (despite such implausibility).