Animalia Agitatus at Edinboro University

Animalia Agitatus, a group exhibition at Edinboro University, curated by Susanne Slavick On exhibition in the month of February at Bruce Gallery in Pennsylvania.

Flora and fauna is an expression that usually evokes images of the bucolic and benign. The artists in Animalia Agitatus have other ideas, veering from the pathetic to the provocative to the playful. Anthropomorphized or annihilated, modified or commodified, the fauna in Animalia Agitatus bear  witness to the heights and depths of human experience.

Portrayed  in  an  array  of  predicaments  and  pleasures,  creatures  cavort  around  calamity  and  potential  captivity,  enacting  fantasies  both  farcical  and  ferocious.  They  strain  toward  the  unattainable  or  under  their  own  weight.   Contorted  or  bloated,  they  survey  themselves  and  their  terrain.   Distorted,  they  lose  or  gain  agency  across  historical  generations.  Lauren  Adams’  colonizing  birds,  in  all  their  Elizabethan  finery,  peck  at  “Indian”  corn  or  perch  above  their  territory.  Chimerical  beings  advance  and  retreat  on  Marian  Barber’s  Civil  War  battlefields,  where  soldiers  ride  possums  and  hunters  are  crowned  with  ram  horns.  Monkeys  play  multiple  roles,  challenging  creationism  in  Patricia  BellanJGillen’s  installation  and  critiquing  consumerism  on  the  soles  of  Josh  Bienko’s  Christian  Louboutin  stilettos.  James  Duesing’s  animated  faun  is  born  of  a  genetic  experiment  gone  awry  while  Andrew  Ellis  Johnson’s  hairy  pig  reflects  an  economy  run  amok.  Stephanie  Ross’  costumed  performances  as  animals  explore  the  fluidity  of  gender  and  embody  “ecstatic  failure.”  And  Susanne  Slavick’s  ibises,  both  scavengers  and  survivors,  strut  amongst  political  failure,  the  ruins  of  the  Egyptian  Revolution.   Whether  aggressive  or  passive,  fetishized  or  feared,  the  animals  portrayed  invite  speculation,  revealing  the  vagaries  of  contemporary  socioJpolitical  realities. Initially,  this  menagerie  may  seem  merry,  occasionally  soothing  with  its  decorative  impulses  and  careful  execution.   But  these  works  are  meant  to  exact  a  response.   These  creatures  of  the  sea,  land  or  air  are  agitated  or  agitating,  inviting  us  to  figure  and  fathom  our  own  condition,  to  animate  our  own  stance  in  the  world. Above statement by curator Susanne Slavick]]>