"Homo sapiens have explored many ages: the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age and, as of late, the Industrial Age, of which we have only tried for a couple hundred years. Before we seemingly dive headfirst into a Digital, Automated or Artificial Age, we are in desperate need of an Age of Reflection."
–Freequill, What's Going On? How Can We Help?: The Consequences of Capitalism and Actionable Steps Towards a Healthy and Sustainable Future, 2018, Illuminate Press
Wainscott, NY – Tripoli Gallery is pleased to present their 18th Annual Thanksgiving Collective, A Paleolithic Age. An extensive selection of artists have been brought together under the conceptual umbrella of The Paleolithic Age. Their respective artworks look backwards towards mysticism and forward towards the space where climate change and technology meet. The Old Stone Age, another name for the Paleolithic Period, stretches back some 2.58 million years ago. The time is marked by stone tools that were found proving human presence including stone scrapers, cleavers, and points which were constructed using wood and bone. By The Middle Paleolithic era, the use of fire was widespread as well as hammering. The artists in this exhibition, all working in the present, could be thought of as contemporary time-capsules, making work that may or may not be found in the future as a way to document and better understand our time.
For A Paleolithic Age like all the previous Thanksgiving Collectives, Tripoli Patterson sought out artists who have shown with the gallery before as well as inviting others to debut. What they all have in common and how works were chosen for the exhibition is that while the approach is individual, collectively they all speak to another era, one prior to any of our existences. The gallery is firmly grounded in 2022, but many of these artists focus on a plane beyond what has been actualized and into what could be considered metaphysical. Some of the artworks are directly connected to the visions that one might conjure when thinking about the Stone Age. Their paintings take us back to a place that none of us have been to, but can only imagine, where life was less complicated, and more complicated simultaneously. The underlying feeling is prophetic. Certain artists rely on a specific type of visual story telling bordering on the macabre, dipping their collective toe into a sci-fi landscape while hinting at our contemporary climate change dilemma. Not limiting the exhibition to a particular medium has allowed the gallery to also present light sculptures, as well as mixed media sculptures using natural materials. Even this, looking at the natural (wood, stone) versus the unnatural (artificial light), caters to a particular resonance of science fiction and the ways in which pop culture has portrayed certain moments in history through a lens often gleaned via evolving technology. The use of artificial light, particularly neon, is less about the earth and more about the sky. Fleeting and uncertain it transports us from the distant past to an unknown future, quietly questioning, ‘when will the light go out?’.
Other works in the show gravitate to planet earth as it is today. The artists who look at their feet so to speak, offer up visual commentary on the state of the sea and forests. They look at the shoreline, beaten and smoothed by the current and time. Discarded objects and accumulated waste are extracted from the landscape and become a chosen medium calling attention to things that take years to biodegrade if they do at all. Abstract modalities can communicate an array of theories as well, a place for projection. Painted spaces still manage to foster a minimalist landscape that resembles what could be a coral reef, falling leaves, tangled wires or flowers obscuring whatever lies beneath. Within the realm of A Paleolithic Age there are disruptions, moments of contemplation, declarations, and historical rewrites. Each medium is simplistic as it is complex. Each piece fits together to foster a new dialogue around time, technology, necessity, and the fabrication of truth.
Artists include: Lottie Consalvo, Sally Egbert, Sabra Moon Elliot, Ryan Estep, Connie Fox, Félix Bonilla Gerena, Jack Goldstein, Kurt Gumaer, Mary Heilmann, Alice Hope, Judith Hudson, Yung Jake, Benjamin Keating, Melanie Luna, Laith McGregor, Angelbert Metoyer, MEAR ONE, Miles Partington, Tomas Ritchie, Alexis Rockman, Keith Sonnier, José Luis Vargas, Lauren West, Lucy Winton, and Thomas Woodruff. The holiday group exhibition, held annually, has become a permanent part of the gallery’s programming. It functions as a way to close out the fall season and welcome the new year!
~ Katy Hamer
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