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Wilding Cran Gallery

“It’s a sad and beautiful world…” at Wilding Cran Gallery

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From Lindsay Preston Zappas, KCRW’s Art Insider:

“To title a group exhibition “It’s a sad and beautiful world…” is to set up a distinct tonal resonance. Particularly in lieu of a press release, those six words provide the only context.

Many of the works seem to deal with the pandemic’s ensuing social isolation and the longing for connection. A glum figure in Katja Farin’s “Ominous Music” (which was painted during quarantine) lays on a plush rug reading a book, empty wine glass perched nearby. A laptop in the background pictures a film still in which the caption [Ominous Music] is written underneath a mummy-like silhouette.

For other artists in the show, the longing for connection strikes a deeper chord. February James’ “On My Way Home” is a direct response to the murder of Gorge Floyd at the hands of police. The painting pictures a Black mother and son staring forward as if waiting. Text that is scrawled on the left half of the painting reads: son father husband BLACKMAN. (George Floyd was all of these things, yet in the last minutes of his life, he was reduced to only the latter.)

Karon Davis’ “The Mother, The Son and The Holy Spirit” was given its own section of the gallery. It features two of Davis’ signature plaster cast torsos that are eerily embedded with glass eyes.

One figure, a woman, rests boldly and calmly on a pedestal. She is adorned with a cowrie crown, holds a gold-leafed egg, and sits on a bed of hemp straw. In contrast, the expression on the face of the male torso adhered to a gold-leaf circle on the wall behind the woman is one of fright. He appears mounted, like a hunted animal. Yet he’s also exalted, with the gold leaf behind him forming a circular halo.

Powerfully, the figure seems to symbolize all the lives that have fallen at the hands of police violence. Yet the strength of the female figure, goddess-like in her power, calls us to keep pushing toward liberation, as we remember and dignify those we have lost.”