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MCLA Gallery 51 : Ven Voisey-VS. 

 

The works featured in "VS.", while ranging in a wide variety of mediums from drawing, sculpture and photography (both found and original), to sound, video and installation, all and their roots and inspiration in the realm of argument, opposing forces and contrarian behavior. Archetypal struggles such as human vs. wilderness, man vs. himself, and sacred vs. profane, weave their way into the fabric of this exhibition.

Voisey said, "This is an exhibition made up not of black and white struggles, but of grey complexities: both internal and external forces, physical and conceptual clashings. There is a difficult relationship between individuals, our desires, and the disparate factors that make up our circumstances - spirituality, sex, gender, convenience, income level, values., logic systems, fetish of choice, dilutive forces, global temperature... Rather than banging my head out of frustration at these incongruencies, I've found this continual tension to be a fertile hunting ground for insight and poetry. These resulting works seek out truths as complex and conflicted outcomes, versus easy-to-sum-up, polarized blips."

Included in the exhibition is a piece entitled "ritual object/item #01203001." It depicts a 5-foot-tall, illuminated photograph of a young woman displaying the skin of a coyote draped over her forearm. Originally, this was a photo taken by a seller on Ebay and its intended use was to let potential bidders know what they were bidding on. "I've often found myself attracted to the unintentional aesthetics of Ebay images, and have a collection of them," Voisey said. "I found this image to be particularly intriguing. The young woman's formal posture and blank stare made it seem as though she was presenting the skin as part of some obscure ritualistic practice...and, well, I guess she is."

A slideshow of photographs entitled "The Ship and the Whale," features a rotating cast of individuals wearing a ship and a whale mask carrying on with domestic activity.  "We're all ships or whales at one point or another," Voisey explained. "While eating dinner, doing the dishes, watching television or brushing our teeth, we're battling, wrestling, embracing, passionately seeking, dominating, retaliating - sometimes it's difficult to discern which is the primary action."

A centerpiece of the show is a 20-foot-plus-long creature, part Ouroboros, part German Shepherd, part Muppet, entitled "Five-Year Plan." Voisey explained, "It always seemed like one of the more difficult questions new employers and self-help gurus ask is, 'where do you see yourself in five years?' As though five years is the standard unit of measurement to accomplish a significant goal. If we think about larger global goals as a species, how does this apply? The question tends to make my head spin into infinity. Whatever the case, this continual cyclical consumption of time & space is also an act of cannibalistic aggression against oneself. This particular doggish incarnation of the creature has externalized its own process by examining it in tape-loop recordings of others. Hard to say if anything good is happening here, but he's at least partially conscious of it."

Sincere thanks to Jamie Mohr, Amelia Wood, Jonathan Secor, Michael Chapman, MCLA G51/BCRC Staff, the office of MCLA President Mary Grant, Melanie Mowinski & MCLA's 2012 graduating Art Majors (Jessica Atanas, Pam Buchanan, Joanna Gillis, Kristen Parker, Gordon Polglase, Greg Sacchetti, Fiona Slattery, Kira Smith, Shanti Sponder), Nick Corbello, Larry Kurowski, Ernie Carbone, and the Vermont Studio Center and its staff.

"VS." runs through July 22. MCLA Gallery 51 and DownStreet Art are programs of MCLA's Berkshire Cultural Resource Center. MCLA Gallery 51 is open daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Gallery at 413-664-8718, or go to www.mcla.edu/gallery51 .

Visit v---v.net for more on Ven Voisey's work.

 

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