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"Kelly McLane: My Blue-Green Algae"
2004-05-02 until 2004-08-22
Cleveland Museum of Art
Emerging Los Angeles-based artist Kelly McLanes (American, b. 1968) enigmatic scenes of nature are featured in her first solo museum exhibition, Kelly McLane: My Blue-Green Algae. The exhibition will includes four large-scale canvases and six drawings created specifically for this exhibition. This is the fourth in the Museums Project 244 series.
Los Angeles-based Kelly McLane (born 1968) is fascinated by the ambivalence of nature, a system both logical in its structure and capricious in its force. For some years, she has explored the tension between nature and culture, questioning how one reconciles the Platonic desire to view man and nature as an organic whole with her own sense that “nature doesn’t care.” In this series, McLane used blue-green algae as a metaphor to explore physical, metaphysical, and familial relationships. For McLane, this simple bacteria—which most scientists concur was responsible for changing the earth’s environment billions of years ago into an atmosphere that could support plant and animal life—represents the literal “tie that binds” all living matter together.
These drawings and paintings connect a “flood” of literal and imaginary scenarios that evolved from McLane’s musings on the theoretical dispute of “nature versus nurture”: whether environmental factors or genetics control one’s destiny. They also constitute contemporary meditations on the traditional notion of the sublime. The sublime is a condition that embraces pleasure in dark, even violent emotions, and feelings of awe or isolation in the face of the vast and banal.
McLane’s vision might be construed as apocalyptic, dystopic, or strange nonetheless, by injecting romanticism and humor into the real, McLane reveals how something appalling or foreboding can also be undeniably beautiful.