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Hug: Recent Work by Patricia Piccinini

Frye Art Gallery
Seattle WA – Sep 22-Jan 6, 2006

Patricia Piccinini - Bodyguard (for the Golden Helmeted Honeyeater)

Patricia Piccinini, Bodyguard (for the Golden Helmeted Honeyeater) [detail] (2004), silicone, fur, acrylic resin, timber, DVD and monitor [Frye Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Sep 22-Jan 6]

Through sculpture, photography and video installation, Australian artist Patricia Piccinini creates troubling depictions of transgenic life. Her fleshy and disquieting sculptures are remarkably realistic, strangely familiar and in turn disquieting. Piccinini’s human and animal forms and their potential for manipulation raise questions about genetic mutations resulting from recent developments involving cloning, the human genome and stem cell research.

Representing ambivalent hybrids, Piccinini’s sculptures – made from materials like silicone, acrylic resin, fur and human hair – are hyper-realistic and sometimes grotesque, with a likeness that warrants both admiration and apprehension. In an age of extraordinary biotechnical advancements, distinctions between natural and artificial life become obscured. While some species are becoming endangered, reproductive science commodifies other life forms.

Patricia Piccinini - The Embrace [detail]
Patricia Piccinini, The Embrace [detail] (2005), silicone, Fiberglass, leather, plywood, clothing and human hair ©Patricia Piccinini. Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert New York [Frye Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Sep 22-Jan 6]

Piccinini’s work brings moral concerns to the forefront and reminds us of ethical issues that must be addressed along with biological experimentation. Her message clearly points to the consequences of assuming control over life’s basic building blocks. Not so far from the truth, her images of xenotransplantation and bioengineered creatures articulate a fearful yet hopeful statement about how ordinary existence is undergoing change and how the boundaries of conscience are intertwined with industry choices.

Piccinini represented Australia in the 2003 Venice Biennale and was included in the Berlin Biennale 2001. This is the first American survey of Piccinini’s work.


Allyn Cantor

Patricia Piccinini - Cyclepup-Mistral

Patricia Piccinini, Cyclepup-Mistral, Fiberglass, automotive paint, leather, and stainless steel ©Patricia Piccinini. Courtesy of the artist and Yvon Lambert New York [Frye Art Gallery, Seattle WA, Sep 22-Jan 6]

 Mon, Nov 5, 2007