Dreams of Promise and Peril: Projects from the JGS Collection


  The Warehouse Gallery

August 19 – October 25, 2008


The role that artists play as cultural barometers always seems to be heightened in times of change and uncertainty. Although they employ different approaches, from timely reportage to futuristic illusions, all of the artists in the exhibition explore the terrain where hopes and dreams collide. By making visible the complex emotions we all sometimes experience the artists in this exhibition ask us to deeply consider the promise and peril that exists both in the fantasies we create and the realities we deny.

AES+F artist collaborative: Action Half Life is the name of a real computer game that the Russian-born artists in the collective AES+F have used as a starting point in their examination of heroism in contemporary culture.

Nearly a decade has passed since Chan Chao published his series of powerfully direct portraits of freedom fighters in Burma, Something Went Wrong. Sadly, the military junta’s repression has worsened and the possibility of democratic reform seems ever more distant. As grave uncertainty surrounds the fate of the individuals that Chao photographed ten years ago, there still is only lingering hope for an answer to the question, What Went Wrong?

Joseph Mills has formed a picture of the universe that is different than most of us carry. At age 21, he experienced a psychotic break, a schizophrenic episode that put him in an asylum for 6 months, half of which was spent in a complete and seamless delusion.
According to Mills, “I slipped into this state as something of a card-carrying existentialist and came out like a newborn-fragile, totally vulnerable, but with an unshakable knowledge of there being great meaning to this life, of there being an undeniable harmony to ‘things,’ of there being absolute truth, one that is mirrored by art that is pure.”

Melanie Pullen’s series High Fashion Crime Scenes takes aim at the public’s fascination with forensic investigations, crime scenes, and bodies of evidence. Using the Los Angeles Police Department and County Corner’s office database as primary study for her reenacted crime scenes, she confuses the solemn feel of such scenes by the inclusion of haute couture.


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