Friday, July 8-28: On the stage at Artcraft, Mahon hall.
Friday, July 8, 6-8pm: Opening night celebration.
Sunday, July 17, 2pm: Artist talk.
Sponsored by Henri Procter.
Summer 2016 is a busy season for Anna Gustafson. “Object lessons” is her third show of the still young summer but will be the largest and most complex of the three to date.
Inspired by a growing sense of horror at the wanton destruction of the environment to feed an insatiable and unnecessary demand for products, she, in turns exposes and covers up animals and objects, imploring the viewer to consider the consequences of their appetites.
Italian artist Federico Busonero responded to the exhibition with these words:
“Object Lessons suggests a new spatial and temporal dimension where our assumptions no longer suffice. These objects are familiar yet unknown, and with the elegant and yet disturbing X-rays of rescued wildlife, they remind us that the visible is only the surface we must cross.
It is necessary to listen to the world around us.”
The walls of the exhibition host groupings of small and larger X-ray images of rescued animals encased in beeswax. Dark and sombre, the viewer ponders the plight and fragility of these animals, exposed on the walls just as their habitats have been stripped away and adulterated by mud top removal, ocean plastics, oil production and the myriad actions of human beings all leading to the need for rescue. Gustafson is donating money from sales to purchase esophageal stethoscopes for animal rescue centres.
On the floor is a collection of domestic appliances, tools and supposedly useful objects, all strangely attractive, wrapped in individual, hand stitched linen shrouds. The outline of each object is clearly identifiable, as is their intended purpose, however each one is entirely useless. Gustafson talks about sourcing these objects from thrift stores, where many of them had sat for years in their original packaging, often unused, unwanted, unnecessary. Dust gathering testaments to the profligacy and carelessness of current and recent generations.
There are visual and emotional contrasts: the dark of the X rays, the pale linen shrouds. The fear and concern for the subject rescued animals, and the homely, familiar forms of the household objects; causing the viewer to question their perception of what is right, what is wrong…
Gustafson is well known for presenting challenging subjects in her unique and visually stimulating installations. Always precise, she takes the visitor to new environments which on first viewing may seem harmonious, but then on exploration reveal layers of nuance and uncertainty. In “Object Lessons” she achieves this to very great effect.