DES MOINES IA.- Societys constant struggle for perfection is examined in the Art Centers newest exhibition, Meet the New You, on view through May 2, 2007 at the Art Center (4700 Grand Avenue). Four artists Magnus Wallin, Ruud van Empel, Sabrina Raaf, and Bryan Crockett come together for this thought provoking show comprised of video, photography, and sculpture. Meet the New You has been organized by Laura Burkhalter, assistant curator.
Perfect children amid unusually flawless landscapes, runaway body parts, abstract notions of paradise, and works of unforgettable beauty referencing classical sculpture are just a few of the many concepts touched on in Meet the New You. According to Burkhalter, Artists in this show confront issues of how our own lives will change though new technology and reflect on the always ambiguous concepts of progress and perfection.
The artists in Meet the New You offer challenging portrayals on how our daily lives will be different in the future, each presenting a unique vision of a brave new world. Some works refer to specific scientific advances, while others deal more conceptually with the ideas of progress and perfection. The constant desire of flawlessness, for better or for worse, is a major theme of the show. Burkhalter says, The works in Meet the New You have been chosen because of the more abstract, peripheral, or poetic approach they take to the issues of our day.
Meet the New You is sponsored in part by Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and promotional support has been provided by the Spa at West Glen.
About the Artists of Meet the New You: Magnus Wallin creates short but intense animations using cutting edge sound and image technology. Capitalizing on the richness of art history, tortured figures taken from 16th century painter Hieronymous Bosch, Olympian supermen inspired by Leni Riefenstahls Nazi propaganda films, and psychedelic fantasies broken free from corporeal form have all made appearances in his art. The fragmented (but still vital) body seems to hold a special fascination for Wallin.
The worlds created by Ruud van Empel are perfect. So perfect, in fact, that they are strangely unsettling. The children in his photographs can be no more real than the artificial paradise that surrounds them. Through photography and computer technology, the artist builds his works, piece by piece, digitally cutting and pasting from existing photographs. This technology offers complete control over every color, surface, and detail, creating photographs in which perfection reveals itself as only possible through artificiality.
The mundane familiarity of Sabrina Raafs photographs makes her predictions of a world with limited gravity all the more surprising. Raaf investigates how people adapt to new situations, what is routine, and how it becomes that way. Her photographs imagine a world where ordinary people have assimilated to some extraordinary environmental changes or have incorporated new processes into their daily lives.
Bryan Crocketts approach to art-making is the most traditional of the artists in Meet the New You. As a sculptor, his work connects strongly with art and cultural history while still containing themes that project into the future. Crocketts exquisitely made sculptures explore the scientific and ethical implications of genetic testing. His work does not necessarily take a stand on either side of the debate, but instead forces us to come to terms with the metaphysical meaning of science.