The Twilight Zone
Eckhard Etzold, Kahn & Selesnick, Steve Derrickson, Francois Deschamps and W. David Powell
Reception: Saturday March 18 from 6 to 8pm
March 16, 2006
through April 23, 2006
The Twilight Zone
Reality and the Media in Contemporary Art
Curated by Melissa Stafford
Kahn & Selesnick
March 16 – April 23 2006
Reception: Saturday, March 18 from 6 to 8pm
“Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth.” - Oscar Wilde
One of television's most rightly revered series; The Twilight Zone (CBS, 1959-64) stands as the role model for TV anthologies. Its trenchant sci-fi / fantasy parables explored humanity's hopes, despairs, prides and prejudices in metaphoric ways conventional drama was unable to. Although advertised as science fiction, the show often (if not always) had a moral that pertained to everyday life. A popular success, it introduced many Americans to serious science fiction ideas while still managing to attract overwhelmingly positive critical attention. In much the same vein, the five artists included in this exhibition use pop culture, the media and historical accounts to interpret and question the world around us.
The Twilight Zone featuring the work of Eckhard Etzold, Kahn & Selesnick, Steve Derrickson and W. David Powell runs from March 16 through April 23. A reception for the artists will be held on Saturday, March 18 from 6pm to 8pm. All are welcome to attend.
W. David Powell
Artist David Powell’s digital collages poke fun of our obsession with everything new and improved, attractive and marketable. Startlingly familiar images, logos and jingles from advertising pervade Powell’s digital montages. He juxtaposes words that are seemingly rife with deeper meaning, such as ‘happiness’ with meaningless, insidiously appealing advertising symbology. In Powell’s surrealistic illusions, what we buy, or what we think we want to buy, is inextricably linked to our perceptions of happiness. His images point out just how empty that logic is.
“… (Powell) straddles Kitsch and nostalgia to deliver a knock-out blow with each picture. He uses the computer to cough up pop cultural images of past eras to remind us that today’s technologic tricks are tomorrow’s technologic tragedies. He uses the past to caution us about entering a future we can’t trust but that we can’t escape.” -- from an essay by Larry List for the catolog of Digital Domains.
Kahn & Selesnick
This installation features a continuous ten inch by thirty-six foot long black and white panoramic photograph depicting astronauts from the 1960s traveling to the moon and back. While on the lunar surface they discover a lost Edwardian expedition that may or may not be real. It was shot and assembled on sets or on location with miniature models and live actors. Kahn & Selesnick are using the narrative techniques of Italian fresco cycles of the early Renaissance such as Masaccio’s Brancacci Chapel cycle. The story is told in multiple episodes featuring the same characters, appearing numerous times, within a single long panel. The use of this quasi-religious format echoes the concept of astronauts as gods.
UFO sightings and the attendant images are evocative for those of us living on terra firma. Waffling between the scientific and the crackpot, these images tend to function as mirrors of our collective hopes and fears.
When Derrickson was a boy, UFO’s were tied up in the anxieties, at times verging on hysteria, of the Cold War. Some have viewed UFO’s as heavenly signs of divine salvation, as signals to the righteous. Some see them as reflecting a fear of the ‘other’, the undocumented alien to end all aliens. Carl Jung saw the UFO phenomena as projections of the collective unconscious, expressing a need for wholeness, saucers as mandalas. UFO images evoke the unknowable, they appear real but they are beyond our touch, representational yet metaphysical.
Sensational as the subject would seem, photos of UFO’s usually have the dull blandness of the conventional snapshot, utterly banal. This deadpan charm is often textured by the cheesy static of bad reproduction; dust, hairs, blurs, back-page ghosts, off-register printing, the grain of extreme blow-up. I find this ideal terrain for the tactile subjectivity of painting. Each painting is assigned a number which corresponds to the date the source photo was allegedly taken. This functions as its title and as an identification number, as though it is an object in a taxonomy or scholarly collection. This number also serves to anchor these interpretations of celestial voyeurism to a specific historical moment, at the crossroads where seeing and believing meet.
Eckhard Etzold’s painting is post-conceptual, his realism actually more an informal gesture of the hand, one that doesn’t interpret or imagine with emotional investment; rather, it makes visual distinctions, and sorts objects and perceptions simultaneously. The relation of painting to photography and their relation to the reproducibility of reality are called into question by Etzold. His paintings, despite their clarity, deny straightforward visual access. They lay themselves like translucent skin over the picture support, like a web of contradictions. Effects of blurriness and simulated elements contribute further to expose reality as something indistinct that lies clearly before our eyes. – Christopher Tannert from Skin Removed, Entirely: Illusionism in the paintings of Eckhard Etzold.
Carrie Haddad Gallery is located at 622 Warren Street in Hudson, New York. Gallery hours are Thursday through Monday from 11am to 5pm. For more information please call 518.828.1915 or visit the gallery online at www.carriehaddadgallery.com