Arcadia: Visions and Prophecies

1206 Maple Ave., #832
Jun 29, 7 PM - 10 PM — ends Jul 27, 2019
Artists include: Robert Andrade, Roni Feldman, Ricardo Harris Fuentes, Lawrence Gipe, Carolina Montejo, Jackie Rines, Emma Stern, Tamra Seal, Ariane Vielmetter, Shanna Waddell, and Nina Sarnelle

Curated by: Sean Noyce and Ty Pownall

Durden and Ray presents Arcadia: Visions and Prophecies, an interdisciplinary show that represents society’s attempts at utopia.

While the idyllic Greek province of Arcadia has been a creative wellspring since antiquity, California has been viewed as a place where utopia could thrive especially by some religious, co-operative, socialistic, Theosophical and Marxian communities. Their origins can be traced to the Brook Farm Unitarian colony in Massachusetts, Oneida Community in New York, and New Harmony Lutheran settlement in Indiana.
But as we move toward a more secular society, many continue to strive for the Judeo-Christian utopic vision of “heaven” as a counter balance to these troubled times. Others see utopia as a place where perfection can flourish within an otherwise flawed world by rejecting worldly excesses, disruption and vandalism.
Several artists in Arcadia reference a return to classicism, like the imagined utopias of Roni Feldman, Robert Andrade, Tamra Seal and Ricardo Harris Fuentes, whose works pay homage to the tropes of antiquity while using materials and formalism that remain firmly contemporary; or the hard-edged watercolors of Ariane Vielmetter that affirm objective reality as something we all share.
Other artists reference an attempt at idealism that ultimately went awry, like Lawrence Gipe’s photorealist painting of a newly-opened housing project from Cold War-era East Berlin; Jackie Rines’ garish, hand-wrought ceramic sculpture that references a McMansion living room and the distorted realities of American perfectionism; Nina Sarnelle’s lyrical video that wavers between pleasing, ASMR-inspired vignettes and bleak, unsettling scenes from the Southland; Shanna Waddell’s dark paintings that reference the cults and communes of California; Emma Stern’s 3D-rendered avatars that reflect society’s obsession with body culture; and Carolina Montejo’s fictionalized sci-fi journal that provides a vision of humanity’s existence outside of Earth.
Visions of utopia act as a reset button, where we can plot a world free from the trappings of nationalism, racism, global warming and other catastrophes that plague our society; conversely, dystopic prophecies are a manifestation of a world devoid of self-reflection, where we become the worst version of ourselves. Works from Arcadia provide a roadmap to help untangle ourselves from the conditions of today and give us a direction toward tomorrow.

Opening reception: 7-10 p.m. Saturday, June 29, 2019
On view: June 29 - July 27
Hours: Saturdays, noon-5 p.m. and by appointment