B is for Bear

As part of Bushwick Beta Spaces, Ugly Art Room presents: B is for Bear
Leonid Services, Inc. - 1031 Flushing Avenue
Opening Reception: November 13th, 2010 - 8pm-10pm
Exhibit Hours: November 14th, 2010 - 12pm-7pm

Brooklyn, NY
“The owl is this years antlers”
A quote from Time Out New York noticed a stall in the Chelsea art scene’s cyclical move out of the surrealist mid auts. Perhaps the “double dip” recession has kept current art in a grounded grass roots practice that would have otherwise moved things towards the next typical phase (tradition begat punk/dada begat goth/surrealism begat country/folk art) of arbitrary reaction. There has been an almost predictable advance “forward” in modern art that assumes a linear need to progress, seemingly for the sake of manifest destiny for it’s own sake.
Suddenly the wheel has stopped spinning. The hurry towards a need for an end is keeping more artists focusing on their practice as just that, a “practice”, rather than a vehicle towards a summation of the history of art. The pressure is off to be the “new thing” and this healthier habit leans towards an art that is more reflective and disciplinary. 
It should be no surprise that this return to practice and study – rather, again, than forwarding towards an ultimate (and this is not to be mistaken as reactionary) – returns most artists to a study of nature. One of the main criticisms of modernism has always been that it no longer uses nature as a model. The unavoidable circumstance of contemporary living is the ironic filter, so, unabashed acceptance of this situation allows for an honest readdress of the natural. That is to say, we can now relax and walk back in to the woods.
So here we are with glittery deciduous horns, vomiting apes, and an endless array of shimmering trees, all unapologetic for the world we are in. Pick your pack and choose your chimp.
Bears though…. One of the most consistent creatures appearing in this post-linear menagerie is the symbol of both mother Russia and California. Most other animals thrown around recently still ring of zeitgeist. Soaring birds (nodded towards in native American folklore as vain and fleeting), octopi and sealift (transient and in recent interpretation, sci-fi-ish), and a zoo of beasts still exploited for their outlandishness. But bears are both familiar, almost to cliché (is there a cliché animal?.). The cliché is that of earthiness, stability and strength – a strength that could swallow you whole! People that grew up holding their Teddy close would still lose bodily control if encountering a real one. Is this the best animal to represent the calming respite (if that is all it is) in a hurtle towards a final explanation. The hug that can eat you?

B is for Bear Artwork (note: link redirects to UAR's former website)