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]]>