Trustman Caprices Reception

Caprices: An Exhibition by Michael Conti, Helen Popinchalk and Sara Wentworth

Starts:  3/16/2016  5:00 PM
Ends: 3/16/2016 7:00 PM
Location: Trustman Art Gallery
Simmons College presents Caprices: a three-person exhibition of video by Michael Conti, screen prints by Helen Popinchalk and photography by Sarah Wentworth, from March 16—April 14 at the Trustman Art Gallery, located on the fourth floor, Main College Building, 300 The Fenway in Boston. A reception from 5-7 p.m. will be held on Wednesday, March 16, with a March 23 snow date. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

Caprices features work that playfully asserts the necessity of absurdity in making sense of our world. In cinematic format, Michael Conti presents the anti-hero Don Quixote as a wanderer in Alaska, clad in a hand-made costume of beer can armor. The Quest (The Impossible Theme), features the artist in the title role. The black and white work’s other star is the Alaskan landscape. Although Quixote is dressed for a battle on ice, where is the ice? Climate change is altering parameters. Hopping, slipping, climbing and ultimately not attaining anything, we see the striving journey as all. The soundtrack is a halting recitation of the words and piano score to the well-known song The Impossible Dream.

Silkscreen printer Helen Popinchalk re-creates with eye-popping neon color, over-scale selections from the series Los Caprichos by Francisco Goya, the Napoleonic era Spanish artist, who critiqued without blinders. Goya’s topsy-turvy world intermingles the notions of sacred and profane. He mirrored his time of perpetual war, fundamentalism perpetuated by the Spanish Inquisition, and assault on science. Popinchalk’s Goya print series is created painstakingly with hand-cut rubylith stencils. The Sleep of Reason is a faithful recreation of the original image. However, at 24 x 18 inches it demands our attention with psychedelic color. The works combine contemporary visual language, restating with emphasis, that Goya is sadly as relevant now as when he created the series.

Over the past ten years, Sarah Wentworth has produced “performed photographs”. The Untitled (fish line) series disguises Wentworth’s appearance with a knitted costume of fishing line. Her identity is masked as a wonderfully supernatural creature rising from the sea and stalking the land. The performative nature of the work elicits comparison to ancient practices of theater, dance and religion, wherein the performer is imbued with the spirit of the mask. Our oceans are choking in plastics and fishing line – what spirit is this that arises? Trichotomy is digitally manipulated creating a multiplying stranger made of detritus. Wentworth’s costume is patently ridiculous, yet it inhabits an eerie liminal space where we see both beauty and its destruction.