In Myths and Fables (December 15 - January 26, 2008), Alexander DeMaria
and Natasha Bowdoin
present mixed-media installations and works on paper that explore the visual potency of myths, fables and legends.
Alexander DeMaria's drawings and wall installations demonstrate both the generality and the singularity of common narrative elements in movies involving heroic myths and legends. DeMaria demonstrates how these stories conform to a highly fixed structure with conventional tropes and narrative elements, and how at the same time, each element possesses the possibility of infinite variation. From several animated films, DeMaria has chosen scenes depicting certain conventional narrative devices common in these stories: the prophecy, the departure, the voyage, the monster and the battle. DeMaria then creates drawings and wall installations by layering and highlighting appropriated sections of individual film cels from these animated movies. In this way, DeMaria constructs or "builds" his own version of that narrative element, a uniquely "hand-edited" composition from several versions of a "generic" scene, a version which theoretically could be inserted into the appropriate section of every heroic mythic movie. Faintly discernible in each work is the possibility of the infinite variations, any of which could serve the same narrative function in the story -- the different versions that could have resulted from other highlighting or "editing-in" decisions by the artist.
DeMaria recently appeared in Boston Young Contemporaries 2007, a juried exhibition of top MFA candidates from 11 New England art schools. He received his MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in 2007, a BA with honors in Studio Art and Philosophy from Vassar College, and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Brandeis University.
Natasha Bowdoin's drawings and large cut-out installations embody her interest in myths and folk tales, especially those which attest to the ability of characters to transform and create/re-create themselves. Having studied non-western and western literature as a Classics and Painting double major at Brandeis University, Bowdoin reveals through her work the power of myths, how they are invented and how they have historically functioned as attempts to explain or understand the universe. Central to many of her works is the mythic trickster character, particularly from Native American fables -- an animal or being with the ability to change into other physical forms. This trickster myth is important to Bowdoin as it represents an analogy to the artistic creative process and an affirmation of a world-view that is open to ambiguities, paradoxes and multiplicities. Her work, "I am the Sun in the Morning; I am a Dog at Night," presents an animal head (bear? lion? dog? cat?) made up of cut playing cards mounted on a series of forms resembling clouds or waves. In the morning it is a majestic creature lording over the universe as the Sun; at night it is a lowly creature scrounging and scavenging. Bowdoin's process actualizes her conceptual concerns; she intuitively builds her compositions of animals and other beings from repeated drawings and words and often finds the work has transformed into something else. "Water Fable" started out as a life-sized drawing of a buffalo, and as Bowdoin worked on the composition, it turned into a flock of birds, and later it became an underwater environment resembling sea coral.
Bowdoin is the current recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant and will exhibit in a two-person exhibition in Rome, Italy in early 2008. She has an MFA from Tyler School of Art in 2007, a BA in Painting and Classics from Brandeis University and also a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate from Brandeis.
Julie Chae Gallery opened on September 7, 2007 and was featured by Boston Globe/New York Times art critic Ken Johnson as a "Globe Pick" for art galleries and events this past fall. The Gallerys second show was also chosen as "Critics Pick Visual Arts" in the Boston Globe by art critic Cate McQuaid in December of 2007. Myths and Fables is the third exhibition presented by Julie Chae Gallery.