The Real World
November 24, 2017 6:30 pm - February 11, 2018 8:00 pm
MTV’s “Real World” is credited with launching the modern reality television shows that populate nearly every network today. The idea behind the trend was to extend a camera into every day lives and give us a glimpse into different people’s lives. However, the relationship between the media and the public led to shows that are all orchestrated and manipulated and the only real part is their names. The “different worlds” only achieved in perpetuating false realities and creating a society with barriers of prejudice between each group.
I began curating this show in the fall of 2013. I wanted to find artists who gave us real glimpses of different worlds from different points of view. I wanted these expressions to span materials and make the viewer question the artist’s thesis and well as their own biases.
I first saw Johnston Foster’s work in Bentonville. The Tiger at 21c next to Crystal bridges is made from recycled traffic cones and when taken with a flash the work appears to float.
“My works are metaphors for survival.”
Working with repurposed material, he hunts in garbage bins and alley ways to find materials that have been discarded, but at one point in time served as essential materials to mankind’s survival.
When I looked further into his creations I saw that he had
multiple worlds laced with this metaphor and it began a process of locating other artists that gave alternative vignettes into our society.
In 2014 I was introduced to the photography of David Magnusson and Mariette Pathy Allen.
These two photographers show drastically different worlds.
Mariette Pathy Allen has been photographing the transgender community for over 30 years. Her work has received great acclaim and has been the source of spreading greater gender consciousness across the globe. “Transcuba” is featured in The Real World at Cinnabar because this body of work captures the major transition of the Cuban government accepting and learning about the transgender community. The subjects are captured living every day lives in Cuba and this work truly gives a glimpse into the real world of the transgender community.
A drastic juxtaposition is offered with work by
David Magnusson. A commercial photographer, Magnusson learned about Purity Balls in America. A purity ball is a religious ceremony in which fathers and daughters dress up in ball gown attire, spend a night of dinner and dancing together, and end the evening with a vow to abstain from sex until marriage.
“Coming from Sweden, one of the most secular countries in the world, I wanted to challenge my own prejudices and try to understand this phenomenon that is very strange to me, without presenting any answers or conclusions.”
The portraits are exquisite, yet they leave the viewer questioning the purpose of the pose, thereby challenging their own religious and societal beliefs.
Linda Arredondo has painted with thread bold embroidered faces of women. These depictions challenge the traditional ideology of women being objects of attraction and instead she presents faces that heighten their sense of danger and/or heroism.
“I like the idea that when looking at people, maybe a true sense of portraiture is that you also see the imperfections. On the one hand, I feel like there’s the extreme of the entirely made-up look, and then there is the stripping down which goes into skulls and goes into death.”
Linda’s work uses an unusual medium and a tradition that dates back centuries to depict her images of the real world.
Steven Cromwell is an artist who specializes in fine scale models. He has received accolades and recognitions for his models at statewide events. His 3D replicas give us a window to see into an old abandoned garage, nostalgic moments frozen in time. Each part is created with care and attention to detail. In “Sinclair station,” he has created by hand actual garage doors with hinges that work, but inside he has made a lock to prevent the doors from opening because in his eyes the abandoned garage would be locked. His attention to detail is unmatched and challenges the viewer to come up with their own dialogue of who used to occupy the garages, barns, and cars, and where that person(s) is now.
I hope you find that “the Real World” show at Cinnabar offers a more factual representation of different worlds interacting.
In a world where everything from regular living to politics is manipulated by television ratings and reality shows, I wanted to offer an exhibition where the art makes you challenge your own prejudices of wealth, poverty, gender bias, and religion.