Friday, September 18, 2009

This Land is Your Land and Beacon Puritanu

This Land is Your Land and Beacon Puritanus
New works by James Rieck, Chad Yencer and Hamiltonian Fellow, Jon Bobby Benjamin

September 19 – October 31, 2009
Reception: Saturday, September 19, 7 – 9pm

Through meticulous installation, painting and sculpture, each artist muses on America – her landscape forms the mise-en-scène and her history becomes the lead.

In This Land is Your Land, James Rieck confronts the grand genre of history painting in his seven works, all comprised of two cropped female figures dressed in alluring costumes of American icons, who frame a poignant history painting, which becomes the backdrop behind them. As highfalutin' as a 4th of July parade, this linear series is assembled in seven acts, each painting depicting periods in American history in which lands were conquered and a subsequent shift in power occurred.

Chad Yencer quite literally takes on the petite genre in his twenty matchboxes, which, when opened, reveal tiny, ambitious landscape paintings, all sourced from snapshots of Yencer's personal history and travels through the American Mid-West. The mundane and commercially produced matchbox preserves moments of escape into the sublime, and through this juxtaposition of high and low, the banal and the significant are bridged.

Beacon Puritanus delves into the roots of American cultural values in a two-part installation by Jon Bobby Benjamin. Benjamin intertwines imagery from Puritan New England, mid-20th century suburban development and contemporary post-industrial decay, and binds them all with the concept of American Exceptionalism. A large, wooden cargo ship carrying modular, little plaster houses through a sea of black ash, approaches the wooden shoreline of a community of sunken, abandoned structures. By isolating only the landscape and architecture, this installation tells the tale of a defunct society and mirrors the failed Puritan experiment that took place only a few centuries ago.

Hamiltonian Gallery
1353 U Street, NW (14th and U Streets)
Washington, DC 2009

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