Saturday, July 10, 2010

Items in the Interim

I know it's been awhile since I've written any reviews on my blog, so I thought I'd write a brief blurb about Items in the Interim, the recent show of Cara Peterson's work at Fort Gondo as part of beverlyear 2010, a yearlong dedication to women artists.

Items in the Interim, an installation by Cara Peterson, opened this evening at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts. This installation incorporates various objects found in Fort Gondo's basement and from Peterson's own collection, arranged in suites alongside paintings, photographs and drawings of antique store displays and flea market shelves.

Upon viewing the show, I was immediately drawn to Peterson's attention to detail. She paints various objects and still life arrangements in realistic fashion, as if encouraging the viewer to look at the depicted items anew as more than just junk or antique store finds. However, despite their being immortalized in art, the objects themselves still remain rather anonymous. This anonymity can bespeak a sense of the familiar by not conveying too much: that necklace could just have easily have belonged to my mother, aunt or mother-in-law; that knick knack may have once adorned my friend's shelf... The objects are easy to identify with. At the same time the anonymity can also convey a sense of the uncertain: it's hard to determine whether that necklace could have once been my mother's or not because it looks like so many others for all that it bears a resemblance...

Throughout Peterson's work, from painting to photography to drawing to assemblage & installation, individual objects don't draw attention unto themselves but rather appear in groupings, sometimes even becoming individually lost among many similar things. So the artworks seemingly act as testaments to these groupings, exploring relationships to and between said objects. By conveying a sense of individual objects being lost in the crowd, the works further explore themes of abandonment and neglect, memory and forgetting, storage and display, trash and treasure. Among the paintings are The Pink Elephant, Saugett, IL and Treasure Aisles, St. Louis, MO. Both of these pieces explore similar themes but draw upon very different objects and spaces, reminding the viewer that antique, vintage, modern and contemporary objects can all meet similar fates over time.

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