Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Manifest Gallery Presents Iconic Mythography

Thematic exhibitions often present various styles of art worked towards a broad idea. A good show also offers the viewer a opportunity to see clearly articulated artistic perspectives on a theme. Rare is a show made up of iconic pieces. Mythography, currently on view at Manifest Gallery is such a show.

Mythography is an annual show inviting national and international artists to tell a story. The result is an exhibition that includes painting, sculpture, drawing, video, and photography presenting stories with details we may not know, with images strikingly familiar. David Hannon’s Strange Gifts for example depicts a scene in which a young man has just opened a package containing a sculptural bust. He is presumably on his front patio, which is surrounded by examples of a polluted disregard for the urban landscape. Factories drape the landscape along with sewage draining nearby and a car exhausting fumes passes by.

The films of Bill Domonokos are similarly engaging. Domonokos’s work includes found photographic images and archival film he represents as film collage. While we may not be familiar with the narrative, the aesthetic of these black and white images are easily recognizable. His film “Nocturne” is accompanied and inspired by the absolutely beautiful music of Tchaikovsky adding another level of iconic familiarity.

While Mythography allows for a broad definition of the narrative, the art of storytelling pulls the show together with dramatically engaging results. Through the iconic forms of Jessica Grace Bechtel’s Ripening and Chris White’s endearing Grandma & Grandpa that pull us into the gallery to the welcoming familiarity of Laura Fisher’s Part One: Dreams, an old book of prints Mythography makes room for the storyteller.