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Catherine Sullivan, Triangle of Need (2007)

Catherine Sullivan, Triangle of Need (2007), still from multi-channel installation [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA – Nov 22-Mar 22] Courtesy of the artist, Galerie Catherine Bastide, Brussels, and Metro PIctures, New York

Adaptation: Video Installations by Ben-Ner, Herrera, Sullivan, and Sussman
& The Rufus Corporation

Henry Art Gallery
SeattleWA – Nov 22, 2008, Mar 22, 2009

Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation

Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation, Photographic still from The Rape of the Sabine Women (Girls at the Pool) (2005), still from multi-channel installation [Henry Art Gallery, Seattle WA – Nov 22-Mar 22] Photo by Benedikt Partenheimer, courtesy of the artist and Roebling Hall, New York

The title of the exhibit, Adaptation, refers to the concept of re-envisioning existing material to form new works. The pieces in this exhibit reformulate passages from classic literature, painting, film and ballet as video installations. This practice is common in film, literature, and pop culture, but not so much in the realm of fine art. While questioning authenticity is a theme in this nationally touring exhibit, which originated at the Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, the re-contextualizing of known subjects serves to deepen the impact and intentions, offering fresh accounts deep with current social relevance.

Guy Ben-Ner transforms Moby Dick and Wild Boy into witty narratives that were shot entirely in a domestic setting. With his offbeat DIY style, he exploits concepts of family and individuality through poignant fictional humour. Arturo Herrera abstracts his own black and white drawings into a two-channel digital projection. The fragmented images animate the notes of a Stravinsky composition for the 1923 ballet Les Noces. In Catherine Sullivan's work, Triangle of Need, social inequalities are examined in a collision of stories about behaviour and evolution. Her mysterious and thought-provoking environments draw from an eclectic variety of things like Nigerian email scams, Neanderthal figures and figure skating. Eve Sussman & The Rufus Corporation appropriate the early Roman story, The Rape of the Sabine Women, in an evocative feature length film. Referencing the legend as it originally appeared in neoclassic art, this modern adaptation becomes a study in sexual violence with subtle interactions between male and female.


Allyn Cantor

 Wed, Nov 19, 2008