Billed as an exploration of landscape painting and the complex connections between climate change, species extinction and migration, Jacqueline Bishop's new Arthur Roger show, The Other Landscape, encompasses familiar environmental topics from the daily news. But her imagery evokes a realm of nature so otherworldly that mythology and sorcery may be the most immediate references that come to mind. In fact, art is the mythology of the modern age, the societal equivalent of the dreams that in our individual lives serve to psychically integrate all that we experience and provide the meta-narratives that define our sense of who we are and where we are going. Likewise, technology is the sorcery of our time, and in this show, climate change, migration and extinction are its consequences that Bishop transforms into a new mythos, a visionary ecology of the imagination.
Ecology is often viewed as a mechanistic system of checks and balances in the natural world, but it is really all about how everything in the world is connected as a totality. Bishop's large painting, After the Rain, above, depicts birds cavorting in an effusion of roses--a surreal ayahuasca sort of vision where joyous beauty is framed by skeletal trees and emaciated animals. Not so very long ago, pollution from chemical refineries upriver from here made our sunsets spectacularly gorgeous, but it was a deadly kind of beauty that could potentially destroy all that it touched if left unchecked. Just as crack cocaine burns out the body and mind, our rapacious exploitation of earthly resources burns out the planet, and this is the drama that Bishop depicts in canvases like Landfill: Mountain where a promontory of roses punctuated with smokestacks is lapped by the waves of a troubled sea. Similarly, her watercolor collages like Formation of Pearls, above left, made with Mississippi River water use words and images from the past to poetically evoke the ecology of communication, the quotidian visual/verbal assertions and seductions that comprise the informational echo chamber of our media saturated age. ~Bookhardt / The Other Landscape: New Paintings and Mixed Media Works by Jacqueline Bishop, Through Dec. 26, Arthur Roger Gallery, 432 Julia St. 522-1999.
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