What fuels our fascination with obscene quantities and obsessive amounts? From supersized to overstuffed, from bulk to buy-one-get-one, we are in a constant quest for more, yet we decry the after-effects of over-consumption. Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center’s new exhibit, SUPERSIZE: Bigger Is Better? investigates how artists interpret these ideas in their work. As exhibit juror Nancy Davis, a curator at the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History explains, “viewing these works of art provided me a window into a world of goods as perceived by artists. Our consumption of things, as expressed in these pieces, is sometimes fulfilling, occasionally disturbing, but never dull! The juxtapositions these artists envisioned as they considered the concept of supersizing were compelling and provocative. Viewers will find humor, moments of deep reflection, beauty and joy.”
Visitors will undoubtedly find humor in Jeanne Martin’s Decadent Grannies and No Trans Fat, fabric-based sculptures of ordinary foods that she has transformed into over-sized sculptures that look edible. One of Martin’s goals as an artist is to confuse the senses of the observer. Her supersized-creations are a celebration of the beauty she sees in everyday objects, and if she makes you salivate, she thinks she has succeeded as an artist.
Another SUPERSIZE artist, Bob Carlson, creates large scale oil paintings of old Detroit “land yachts,” cars that he describes as being “oblivious to environmental impact and fueled by cheap gas, these enormous cars expressed the excesses of a dominant American post-war industrial base.” Despite Carlson’s critical observations of American manufacturing, he freely admits the joy he finds in the “stylish lines and sheer arrogance of these big bombastic status symbols.”
Benjamin Entner’s giant, inflatable still life made of graphite on Tyvek, consists of items that he has carefully chosen for their allegorical and historical allusions, including “a whale -representing the sea, an elephant -for virility, a cube -for Picasso, a carrot -for nutrients, and the letter ‘m’ -for someday I shall marry.” He describes his work as the “nexus of all art history,” a place where in the context of this exhibit, art seems to have collided with a comment on ocean conservation, habitat preservation, and genetically engineered produce.
Upon entering the gallery, many of these outrageous works will make you smile and laugh out loud, but take the time to explore the entire exhibit and to read the artist statements. Taken as a whole, the diverse works included in SUPERSIZE contain important messages about our relationships with our stuff, and how we consume the Earth’s resources. This complex and entertaining exhibit is a celebration and critical commentary, full of beauty, humor, and some really big stuff.
SUPERSIZE: Bigger Is Better? will open Friday, June 10 and continue through August 21, 2011. The Annmarie After Hours Opening on June 10, 6-9pm, will include light refreshments, live music, and a cash bar. Admission for the opening is $5 for non-members; $4 for members. Reservations are not required.
Ruth Avra & Dana Kleinman, AWG, Bob Carlson, Michelle Carollo, Ann Crain, Derek Decker, Benjamin Entner, Jim Gallucci, Rajorshi Ghosh, Susan Evans Grove, Lannie Hart, Artemis Herber, Tom Holmes, Peter Horan, Lialia Kuchma, Mickey Kunkle & Kay Collins, George Long, Jeanne J. Martin, Roger Martin, Sandi Ritchie Miller, Alyson Moore, Constance Old, Pokey Park, Jim Paulsen, Paul Rhymer, Toni-Lee Sangastiano, Suzanne Shelden, Monte Shelton, Gary Staab, Heidi Wetzel, Emily White, Sarah Wilkins, Damian Yanessa.
SUPERSIZE Exhibit Jurors:
Nancy Davis, Curator, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
James F. Langley, Curator of Exhibitions, Calvert Marine Museum, Solomons, Maryland