Put Me In the Zoo – 325 Broome Street
Bill Adams, Polly Apfelbaum, Colin Brant, Kirsten Hassenfeld, Hanneline Røgeberg
exhibition organized by Suzanne McClelland and Ann Pibal –
Put Me In the Zoo is a group exhibition titled in reference to Dr Seuss book – it brings together five artists who draw inspiration from Nature and the representation of animals and open their work to the wide range of questions associated with the predicament and reality of wildlife.
The exhibition is organized by painters Ann Pibal and Suzanne McClelland who have an abstract practice far remote from the representation of natural life. The work of Ann Pibal engages the
history of abstraction and constructivism. The small scale of her paintings on aluminum can assert a feminist stance against male appropriation of abstraction. Pibal explores phenomenons linked to synesthesia where lines and color lead to secondary cognitive pathways. In a different approach but also rooted in the questioning of systems of signification and sensory exchanges, Suzanne McClelland transcribe spoken words into visual riddles. She occupies a unique place within the tradition of language in art as her painting are taking into account intonation, verbal idioms, accent and all the modulations of the spoken word in a stark contrast to the written word. The proposition for Lucien Terras. results from an ongoing discussion between two artists deeply curious about forms of expressions that contrast and challenge their own practice. Their proposition – a more adept description than “exhibition curated by” – combines wit and gravitas and gathers animals of all sorts (leopard, turtle, butterfly, snail, sheep among others). A curious zoo at a curious time, when the continued existence of wildlife is under constant threat of the specter of extinction
Bill Adams will show free standing clay creatures – small in scale and semi abstract, not fully identified as a specific species, they invoke the symbolic power of a spirit animal that could be wild or function as a domesticated pet.
Polly Apfelbaum will introduce new works featuring schematic animals,freely drawn with spray paint on fabric. Not based on observation or any attempt of realism, they function like an alphabet for young children: B is for Butterfly, S is for Snail, etc…. It coalesces the primal role that animal play in the learning of language and the importance of animals in a child cognitive development, that is far remote with their actual life experience.
Colin Brant paintings are epic and romantic. They are not part of any current trend and their uniqueness cannot be characterized as outsider given his deep knowledge and interest in the history of the medium. Colin Brant will contribute a selection of paintings of rare animals including a large painting representing a leopard resting on tree branches in a very luscious multi color forest – avoiding kitsch or heavy symbolic of endangered species, the painting is more a reflection about the self.
Kirsten Hassenfeld will show two constructed tortoise shells made of different found material and very ornate. They refer to trophies but their highly decorative and whimsical presence suspends the narrative of exploitation. They could be a glimpse in the wardrobe closet of a very stylish turtle and are expressing the joy of life more than the doom of species that are among the most endangered in the planet.
Hanneline Røgeberg will present several paintings that lift the skins of unnamed wildlife and re- presents these as subjects in place of bodies. A “real” disembodied skin re-formed within a frame a floor sculpture consisting of sheepskins bearing the mark of painted oil stains and several paintings with the same subject. The wooly texture of sheepskin pelts is rendered in oil paint both as objects, not depicted as inanimate but hovering within the spaces with a ghostly perseverance.