MoCA Museum of Contemporary Art

Dark Continents

26 Sep - 09 Nov 2008

© Naomi Fisher
Torch Ginger, 2008
Courtesy the Artist and Fredric Snitzer Gallery.

On View: MOCA, North Miami
September 26 – November 09, 2008

Dark Continents revisits the modernist fascination with tropical locales and indigenous people prevalent during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Artists in the exhibition examine ideas and aesthetics that were popular during this time period and relate them to current views by challenging stereotypical relationships that associate femininity with nature. The exhibition also confronts the elements that impacted “primitivist” and “exotic” tendencies in art history, such as colonialist perspectives, industrialization, and the popularization of psychoanalysis.
The exhibition features works by a group of international artists that includes: Ida Ekblad, Hadassah Emmerich, Naomi Fisher, Elke Krystufek, Marlene McCarty, Claudia and Julia Müller, and Paulina Olowska. Many of the artists are creating new works for this exhibition that include site-specific wall murals and installations in media such as painting, drawing, sculpture, collage and video.
Oslo-based Ida Ekblad’s new work stems from her ongoing series of sculptures and drawings that uses appropriated mass-media images depicting non-Western cultures. Dutch artist Hadassah Emmerich’s site-specific installation investigates the relationship between feminized aesthetics and tropical themes. Miami artist Naomi Fisher’s new installation, featuring painting, photography and video, reflects her interest in the merging of the “savage” and “goddess” myths. Claudia and Julia Müller, sisters from Switzerland, employ anthropological techniques to create artworks dealing with cultural perceptions, history, fictions and the display of ethnological information. Premiering in the U.S., Dr. Love on Easter Island (2006) and A Film Called Wood (2007), are two films by Austrian artist Elke Krystufek in which she uses Bas Jan Ader, the Dutch artist who disappeared in 1975 trying to sail across the Atlantic, as her male alter ego in a self-reflexive exploration through the South Pacific, India, and Austria. New York-based Marlene McCarty takes true stories about primates and people trying to live together as the basis for her large-scale ballpoint pen drawings, in which humans and apes are entwined in intricate embraces. Polish artist Paulina Olowska’s new work pays tribute to Zofia Stryjenska, who was once considered the “Princess of Polish Painting,” but fell to obscurity after World War II after she refused to join the new Communist government’s union of artists.
Dark Continents is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami and is curated by Ruba Katrib, MOCA Assistant Curator.
The exhibition is made possible with support from Francie Bishop Good and David Horvitz, the Mondriaan Foundation, and Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

Tags: Bas Jan Ader, Ida Ekblad, Hadassah Emmerich, Naomi Fisher, David Horvitz, Elke Krystufek, Marlene Mccarty, Paulina Olowska