Archive for April, 2011

Of All the Things, She Counts

Posted by kfunk on April 21st, 2011

Bane:  works on paper by Fanny Retsek

Art Ark Gallery, San Jose, California, April 2011

By Susan O’Malley

Ever since she can remember, Fanny Retsek has felt a deep connection to nature. This may seem odd for someone who grew up in the suburbs of Los Angeles, but for Retsek, her reverence for the earth is entwined with her identity. “Every day I am awed and inspired by the beauty of nature and how we are part of a larger interconnected system.” The flow of this remarkable network, however, is constantly threatened and disrupted. Humans, driven by fear and greed, strive to control both nature and each other. The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the wars in the Middle East, the endangered Wyoming toad, whooping crane and North American wolf – all of these incidents highlight the toxic footprint humans are leaving on our planet. In her work, Retsek draws connections between these global and local stories, and in doing so, reflects on who we are. “What we do to the earth and to other species is ultimately what we do to ourselves.”

"If We Don't Care"

If We Don’t Care…..

More often than not, the shortsighted, faster and cheaper solution outweighs the long view to solving the multifaceted problems we face today. In her drawings and prints, Retsek wrestles with our species’ complex relationship with the natural world and each other. Inspired by research and the intrinsic beauty of nature, the softly colored landscapes depict reoccurring motifs that define Retsek’s visual vocabulary. The repetitive process of drawing, stamping, and printing signifies a way of counting for Retsek. She tallies numbers that correspond to various statistics she encounters in the news or in her research. Fields of windmills, helicopters, birds, wolves and frogs create landscapes that suggest the interconnections and tensions between animals, land and humans. For the artist, making art is an act of meditation; it is a necessary process in order to grapple with the world in which she lives.



Posted by erin on April 20th, 2011

The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles Shows Argentine Artists, Chiachio and Giannone

by Erin Goodwin-Guerrero

Chiachio and Giannone’s Inquietante Escena (Exciting Scene)

The first US solo show of Argentine National Prize winning artists, Leo Chiachio and Daniel Giannone is currently on exhibition at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.  Their works range from altar-like installations to richly embroidered autobiographical and legendary narratives to small, embroidered domestic objects such as tea towels.  The imagery shows the artists themselves, often with Piolín – their dachshund – as role players in biblical tales, international cultural rituals and folk practices, and as protagonists in contemporary political dialectics. Often, as in Inquietante Escena (Exciting Scene), it is all mixed together in a scene with elaborate costuming from Japanese Kabuki theatre, the lush color and textural qualities of embroidery, and the comical insertion of two Westerners and a dachshund.  On other occasions the message can become sparse, clearly satirical and a bit angry, as in  Sebastianos, (The Saints Sebastian).  Mostly, the mood of their adventures is one of tenderness and love as seen in Marineritos (The Young Sailors), still at sea, their future as full of possibilities as the great night sky above them.