Posted by Peter Morgan

As this is the 50th NCECA conference it makes since to look back for inspiration.  Why stop at fifty years, or 100 years when we can go back to prehistoric times?  Perhaps the most exciting of these times was the reign of dinosaurs.    Dinosaurs exist in our contemporary consciousness in many facets.  Though found as prettified remains, dinosaurs are icons of our present-day culture.  They are movie stars, symbols of culture wars, toys, theme park rides, and advertising logos amongst others

This proposal seeks to create a ground-shaking exhibition with a focus on dinosaurs.  Included are contemporary makers who explore the natural world and natural history from varied conceptual and material perspectives.   Seeking diverse view points on this paleontological theme the chosen artists unearth an array of artifacts.  Ranging from the chromatic eyeball assault of Craig Clifford’s pastiched vessel landscapes to the rigorously investigated imagery emblazoned on Jessica Brandl’s tableware.

Not only does this show educate, it intends to entertain with the “humerus” thread that runs through many of these artists’ works.  Some are innately funny as Ryan Kelly’s elaborately constructed historical narrative videos, or Alanna DeRocchi’s “taxidermy” trophy heads and butts.   Others humorous takes are more subtle, such as the material transformations in the trompe l’oeil creations of Brett Kern and Jessica Brandl.  One cannot discount the edutainment value of Peter Morgan’s scientifically rigorous anachronistic paleontological excavations.

This show is intertwined with the conference theme of “Makers, Milestones, and Mentors”.  The selected artists all have a “rock hard” commitment to handcrafted objects.  For some, such as Ryan Kelly, these objects are props for performances, while Jessica Brandl creates skillfully created vessels with rendered imagery, much in the tradition of Pallisy.  Fossils make marvelous milestones, ranging from the “Bone Wars” of the 19th century, to contemporary technological practices examining the cellular structure of dinosaur bones.  Several included artists have close connections to Kansas City, for them this exhibition represents a “homecoming” and reflection of their careers.   A preponderance of the selected artists are not “boneheads” but rather are professional educators who have influenced scores of students throughout their tenure in the field, and will continue to do so into the future.

Dino-might is ground-shaking dinosaur themed exhibition exploring the natural world and natural history from varied conceptual and material perspectives. The show features astonishing assortments of artifacts unearthed by the artists, Jessica Brandl, Craig Clifford, Alanna DeRocchi, Ryan Kelly, Brett Kern, Peter Morgan.  The exhibition will be held at The Box Gallery, and run from March 14-May 27th.

Categories: 2016 Exhibitions, Featured

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