“The exhibition’s title is inspired by Edward Hicks' (1780 – 1849) series of paintings, Peaceable Kingdom, where the worlds of nature and humankind coexist symbolically in a peaceful idyll. Hicks’ vision was reverent and hopeful, but tempered with concern for the darker and destructive impulses of both animal and man. Rappleye’s drawings feature abundant and extraordinary groupings of animals, birds and plant life. There are no humans. Birds and animals are combined into new, unfamiliar creatures.”
These renderings on paper have been masterfully executed and most of them left me staring into the detail for a long time trying to decipher the inner meaning behind a lot of the representational forms. Of course, having the artist there to walk you through a lot of the paintings would have helped immensely, but it does seem that Rappleye is obsessed with adding a blind owl and a large hairy rabbit in almost all his paintings. I guess the owl represents some sort of continuity in this post industrial landscape. I also did not understand why he did not include any humans in the supposed idyll of a peaceable kingdom if the reference to Ed Hicks is so strong. Strains of a post industrial Thoreau was also heard in my mind eye. All of these unanswered questions still did not stand in the way of his technique – a very original and striking artist whom I highly recommend. I have a funny feeling Chris Reiger would be interested in this sort of thing… I could be wrong here.
“This is Jon Rappleye’s second exhibition at the gallery. His solo exhibition, Out of the Silent Planet, is on view at the Jersey City Museum, New Jersey, through August 12. Upcoming solo exhibitions include, Strange World, at the Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas (fall 2007) and the Clough-Hanson Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee (early 2008).”
Finally I trekked up all the way to the western end of the island in Chelsea to get to Point of View gallery. I went there purely because I have an enduring interest in human faces and the photographer Matt Hoyle seems to have masterfully captured a whole host of them in various poses of striking emotive power. The name of the show is Icebergs and the name refers to a certain winter swim club where individual members gather at a designated time in the winter to what else – swim…
Matt has managed to masterfully photograph the members of this club in a early morning light with a natural frozen gleam that seem to permeate his HDR enhanced shots. Yes, that is right, I have a fair idea that he uses the techniques behind HDR photography.
On looking at these photos in the gallery, I believed that his reliance on HDR photography alone may not take him too far (look at some of the superlative images of HDR enhanced photography on Flickr and you will see what I mean). Of course, I was proved wrong when I went got back and decided to visit his website. It seems to be a treasure trove of narrative pieces waiting to be discovered. He does not disappoint.