Sahara Ahal

Gallery Report # 3

Western Project

Patrick Lee, Bob Mizer, Sheree Rose, John Schlue, Joe Schmelzer, Aaron Sheppard, Arne Svenson, Wayne White, Planca, and others.

BACON: Group Exhibition

I attended the opening of Western Project’s BACON exhibition on Saturday December first. I decided to attend this opening because I thought it was interesting that a whole show could be inspired by bacon. I was curious to see the different associations with bacon that would be used in the works, and how successfully the show would come together. There is also something exciting about seeing a show the first day it goes up.

The show was much smaller than I expected. It only occupies one room and probably only one third of the wall space in the gallery. When I first noticed this I thought there might not be enough bacon inspired work for me to sink my teeth into, but once I began to take in the show I noticed very quickly that all of the works were saturated with conceptual meaning and I would have more than enough content to digest.  The show was comprised of works from many different artists working in a variety of mediums including ink drawings, acrylic and oil paintings, photography, film stills, found images and mixed media works.  The works ranged in concepts addressing sex, eroticism, social gender stereotypes, the police force, money and status, and objectification of people just to name a few. Most of the works had a strong presence and were bold in meaning. This boldness along with the large variety of content made the show almost overwhelming to try to take in. My mind was jumping back and forth relating different concepts and trying to understand the entirety of some pieces that were more complex.

Some of the works that intrigued me the most were photographs by Joe Schmelzer and Ali Kheradyar, ink drawings by Planca, photographic sculpture by Arne Svenson, and vintage photographs that were taken by unknown photographers.  Joe Schmelzer ‘s work was a large photograph of a topless young man standing in a kitchen holding a trey of uncooked bacon. To me this piece represents the common objectification of men as meat. Ali Kheradyar’s photograph of a women nude in a kitchen sink worked extremely well with Schmelzer’s piece. I felt that her piece represented the same social views of women as meat. Both works expressed the objectification of people for sex, but Kheradyar’s work also referenced the social expectation of cleanliness and purity for women. Planca’s ink drawings depicted hyper masculine male members of a baseball team performing sexual acts on their coach. I felt this piece represented the ridiculousness of men who are obsessed with their masculinity and how they become submissive to the shallow societal constructs in which they are supposed to fit. This work embodies ideas of kissing ass to get ahead. Svenson’s piece was a book of photographs of different types of human skin entitled “Skin Samples.” I think this work much like the other photography in the show represents the objectification of people. I was immediately affected emotionally when I saw this piece and felt a sad truth about it. The skin was presented in a way that it could simply be ordered for pleasure without any concern for the human up for order. Lastly the Vintage photographs were in two different clusters. One that included images of men posing with their muscle cars and the other including images of women partially of fully nude in erotic poses. These two clusters showed the stereotypes of social gender roles. These stereotypes include the idea that the worth of a man is associated with his financial status and social, political and physical power symbolized by his car, and the worth of a woman lies in her physique and her ability to be sexy. The truth and realness of these images made them even more powerful as works. If they were staged they would still clearly make a point, but the fact that they were actual productions of the way societies effects how men and women present themselves, they act as a strong mind opening truth about the power of societal influences.

Overall I feel that all of the works came to together to make a show that was cohesive and intensely interesting. My mind was overwhelmed with all of the different ideas and sexual content was present. Although some of the works were almost too bizarre for me, I was able to connect with most of the works. I feel that this show opened my mind a little more about the types of art that exist in the art world, and I am happy that I was able to experience it.

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