Whitney Art Works
"The word apocalypse is often taken as a synonym for the biblical Revelation of John, replete with the Four Horsemen, The Whore of Babylon and the Antichrist, but directly translated from the original Greek it simply means “the lifting of the veil”. As an apocalyptic exhibition, After the End of the World attempts to reveal the vision of four artists whose work can be viewed as depictions of a time or place that exists after the end of what we perceive as our world. Each artist broaches this subject through different media, imagery, and with a distinct emotional perspective, varying from epic to clinical to humorous. What ties them together is their consideration of the symbiotic states of horror and freedom inherent in the End Times, when it is not mere buildings and societies that are destroyed, but time and history itself.
Andy Rosen (South Portland, ME), creates sculptural myths that play out battles between man and nature. In his work “I Can Only Take You So Far”, a broken ship rests on the gnarled back of a wolf that, arching his back, seems to tell the ship, and perhaps mankind as a whole, that this is the end of the line. Created with an immediacy and earnestness of craft that compliments the rawness of his found objects and construction scraps, Rosen’s works are legends seemingly ripped from a lost or hidden indigenous culture.
In his digital photography and installation, Bennett Morris (Portland, ME) depicts biomechanical forms shrouded in ominous, acrid smoke. By disrupting our sense of time and scale, his images suggest a ruined, “post-human” future where our systems of surveillance and information continue on without us, extending the idea of ruination beyond structures to perception itself.
Scott Listfield (Somerville, MA) takes a more lighthearted approach to impending doom in his skillful oil paintings. His works tells the story of an astronaut who comes to Earth as a cosmic observer, visiting a surreal, alternative America where pop culture characters mix with Modernist works of art in pristine yet eerily vacant shopping malls and cityscapes. Listfield’s paintings ask us to observe, explore, and reconsider the present with the same sense of awe and wonder that we normally reserve for dreams of the future.
The vision of Joshua R. Marks (Brooklyn, NY) springs from images of post-WWII America, an era that is so vividly remembered (and imagined) in America’s collective psyche as to have become an alternate reality in itself. His large installation work “Virus” depicts a ruined landscape dappled with tiny glass domes that house picture-perfect suburban houses and yards. Despite the ominous narrative suggested by the title, Marks wryly suggests that the inhabitants of each scene might be finally content, secure in their own little bubbles.
In Hakim Bey’s Temporary Autonomous Zone, the author suggests that true freedom only exists in the point of transition between two ruling systems. The images in After the End of the World depict a world that is vastly different than the one that we know, but not yet stable or sustainable. These images exist somewhere in between, in the ether, outside of the tyranny of history."
- Jeff Badger, September 2007
site © 2008 jeff badger. individual works © respective artists