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Indepth Arts News:

"Arterial: Organic Intersections of the New Cityscape"
2007-02-21 until 2007-03-18
Viveza Gallery
Seattle, WA, USA United States of America

Viveza Art Experience, 2604 Western Ave., presents "Arterial: Organic Intersections of the New Cityscape." This evocative exhibit runs through Wednesday, February 21 to March 18, 2007 and offers a diverse collection of works by award-winning artist Christopher Santer, mixed-media artist Brian Scott Campbell and prolific painter Jeff Koegel. All three artists will be in attendence at the opening reception from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 23.

Each artist has their own, unique way of engaging the viewer in the ongoing discourse surrounding man- kind's role in nature. When taken together, these works emphasize a shift in ideas about urban living and the environment, as is reflected locally in Seattle's new "Metronatural" slogan and the like-minded design of the SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, as well as globally in the U.N. Environment program's recent report on global warming.

The ever-evolving "American Dream" is given a sardonic finish in Santer's works, which evolved from simple drawings of highway interchanges under construction.

"Before long, I was manipulating and fragmenting them into isolated knots of empty overpasses, seem- ingly being constructed and abandoned at the same time," he said. "The paintings that followed seemed to develop with inherent contradictions contained within: Road completions through misalignment, con- crete dressed with the colors and words of fantasy, romanticism meeting the cold, hard pavement."

While Santer's works often relate a sense of optimism, he always brings the viewer back to reality by referencing the awesome power of natural forces. Romantic phrases trail of toward the horizon only to be sucked into a tornado or dropped into a canyon from the edge of a road to nowhere. In other works, highways entangle in knots that resemble the unchecked growth of an asphalt heartworm.

Jeff Koegel shares Santer's paradoxical vision of the "metronatural" landscape. Using a patchwork method, Koegel covers portions of his canvases as he paints so that he can't compare what he's creating with what he's created. This "blindness" produces unintended results.

"The paintings might look carefully planned out, but actually I begin with only a partial drawing, which the painting is built on, altered and developed instinctively," he said. The results are contradictory landscapes --smokestacks or volcanoes emit noxious, billowing clouds that trace the outline of a futuristic spaceship, a fantastic cityscape, an ancient temple or vascular forms that could be tree trunks, ventricles, or a cross section of metropolitan plumbing.

Brian Scott Campbell also focuses on unfolding cityscapes and alteration of living spaces. He conjures up intersections of manmade and natural environments in several mediums, including painting, drawing, sculpture and animation. Glaciers melt, and drip, towers, highways and fences are built, and brush strokes are outlined in graphite.

Drawing much of his inspiration from the drawings and schematics of the great engineer, painter and naturalist, Leonardo da Vinci, Campbell presents the viewer with a world that is, at once, organic and industrial. In the drawings most reminiscent of his engineering schematic inspiration, haphazard lines create complex arterial networks that could be highways, viruses or both.

"Through the phenomenon of mark making, and erasure, the architectural fantasies of the Renaissance are applied at the corpuscular level," he said. "The epic scenes of composed lines reference a Rube Goldberg perspective of our built world, as well as the internal, micro-landscape."

All-in-all, no matter what the medium or interpretation, Campbell's works engage us in a tricky conversation about how and where we live.

Brian Scott Campbell
Fraction of a Second 2/3 (triptych)
Acrylic, charcoal, graphite,
10.5in x 6in

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