Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three Artists Reflect on the Sublime


Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me: Three artists reflect on the sublime
Sydney Croskery, Jennifer Gunlock, and Molly Segal
Curated by Mario D. Vasquez
PostLA@MiM Gallery
4654 W Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016-1743
Opening Reception: July 17, 2019; 7pm to 9pm

The idea of the sublime has confounded and enthralled artists, writers, and poets for at least 200 years. The idea that nature overcomes man, or man is in conflict with nature is a theme that is central to the sublime.

Edmund Burke stated, “Whatever is fitted in any sort to excite the ideas of pain and danger, that is to say, whatever is in any sort terrible, or is conversant about terrible objects, or operates in a manner analogous to terror, is a source of the sublime; that is, it is productive of the strongest emotion which the mind is capable of feeling. I say the strongest emotion, because I am satisfied the ideas of pain are much more powerful than those which enter on the part of pleasure. Without all doubt, the torments which we may be made to suffer are much greater in their effect on the body and mind, than any pleasure which the most learned voluptuary could suggest, or than the liveliest imagination, and the most sound and exquisitely sensible body, could enjoy.” Burke, Edmund. “Of the Sublime”

Immanuel Kant states that “Whereas the beautiful is limited, the sublime is limitless, so that the mind in the presence of the sublime, attempting to imagine what it cannot, has pain in the failure but pleasure in contemplating the immensity of the attempt” Immanuel Kant, “Critique of Pure Reason.”

The 19th century American painter Thomas Cole explored the sublime by creating a narrative around the rise and fall of civilization. Thomas Cole’s The Course of Empire was comprised of three works; “The Savage State; The Arcadian or Pastoral State,” “The Consummation of Empire; Destruction” and “Desolation.” Taking a cue from “Course of Empire,” “Love Me, Build Me, Destroy Me” reflects on the contemporary sublime by exploring the relationship between nature and humans, which changes from love and beauty, the development of the land by way of building, and to the eventual destruction by folly. The contemporary sublime is concerned with man’s destruction of nature and its continuing consequences. The three artists in this exhibition, Sydney Croskery, Jennifer Gunlock and Molly Segal, explore each of these aspects.

Sydney Croskery explores the idea of the contemporary overwhelm by studying both beauty and banality of objects in natural and industrialized realms. The use of interspersed and grouped paintings creates a subjective landscape where fragments become almost dream-like vision of the land and nature. When looking at Croskery’s works, the loss of nature becomes terrifying and tragic.

Jennifer Gunlock portrays the build environments that populate the landscape. Gunlock’s man-made structures take over the landscape as human’s turn on nature and assert their dominance. Structures replace the natural and as the natural is lost.

Molly Segal foresees that nature is left in ruins, as nature goes from beauty to that of dystopia. Segal’s landscapes are populated by oil pumps, carnival rides and ruins as if man’s folly is reflected. Segal’s depicts the results of neglect and degradation of the environment as nature is destroyed.    

The sublime becomes overwhelming as a man’s affiliation with nature and beauty goes from love to arrogance to the ultimate destruction of nature and thus, leaving nature in ruins. It is the idea of the 19th century in reverse where man is overwhelmed by man rather it being overwhelmed by nature.

Mario Vasquez is a blogger, independent curator and art critic based in Los Angeles.  

Artists Bios
Sydney Croskery
Sydney Croskery is a third generation Los Angeleno, who lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work generally is about society, over stimulation, and consumption. She has participated in shows at Charlie James Gallery, the Fellows of Contemporary Art, Raid Projects, LACE, Angles Gallery, and Jack Tilton Gallery. She has also participated in shows at the Getty Museum, The Torrance Art Museum, the Indianapolis Museum of Art and the Riverside Museum. She is a member of the LA Art Girls and is one-half of the World Famous Wiener Girls of Chicago. Croskery is a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Grant for 2018.

Jennifer Gunlock
Based in Long Beach, CA, Gunlock has received a BA in Fine Art at California Polytechnic University, Pomona in 1998 and an MFA at California State University, Long Beach in 2003. She has exhibited nationally and in local venues such as Sturt Haaga Gallery at Descanso Gardens, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Launch LA, and Angels Gate Cultural Center. She has been Artist in Residence at Playa in Summer Lake, Oregon; Shoebox Projects in Los Angeles; Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga, Wyoming; and at the Pajama Factory in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. In 2014-15 Gunlock participated in in “Fires of Change,” an NEA-funded collaboration between artists and scientists, to translate the social and ecological issues surrounding wildfire in the Southwest. Following a fire science bootcamp in the Grand Canyon, and a year to complete a project, a group exhibition opened at Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff, Arizona in September 2015 and traveled to the University of Arizona Museum of Art in Tucson and 516 Arts in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Molly Segal
Segal was born and raised in Oakland, CA.  She received a MFA from The School of Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA. Her paintings have recently appeared in group exhibitions at Northeastern University Gallery 360, Charlie James Gallery, PØST, Zevitas Marcus, and BLAM. She has contributed to publications such as Full Blede, Venison Quarterly, Reflections of The Burden of Men, and Lapham’s Quarterly. She was an artist in residence at the Virginia Center for Creative Arts in 2017 and the Vermont Studio Center in 2018. Segal currently lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

 
Jennifer Gunlock



Jennifer Gunlock

Sydney Croskery

Molly Segal

Molly Segal

Molly Segal

Jennifer Gunlock

Molly Segal

Installation View

(left to right) Sydney Croskery and Molly Segal

Sydney Croskery

Sydney Croskery

Installation View

Sydney Croskery

Sydney Croskery

Molly Segal

Molly Segal


Jennifer Gunlock

Installation View

Sydney Croskery

Jennifer Gunlock

Installation View at Opening Reception



Halloween Art (2019) - Masks

This year's Halloween posting is about masks. Every Halloween people wear masks as part of the celebration. In art, the mask has a diffe...