Clifton Childree and Arnold Mesches at Dorsch Gallery
|Childree's Orchestrated Gestures|
The juxtaposition between Childree's haunting, orchestral sanitarium and Mesches pulsating, deeply saturated pictures of performers and works by the masters was among the most engaging presentations a gallery could offer for this upcoming week of visual frenzy.
The first room is laden with miniature and full-scale paintings in Paint from 87-year-old Arnold Mesches, who will be showing work at the Frost Museum throughout Art Basel Miami Beach. With lush, controlled strokes, Mesches illuminates the painter's studio using works from Rembrandt, Goya, and El Greco as larger-than-life backdrops. The mahogany-tinged backgrounds add a sense of reverence and wisdom to the historic works, essentially reduced to postcards on a table with the artists' brushes, paint cans and other tools.
The second room displays "Weather Patterns," a series of large-scale works, which pit miniscule circus performers, a chariot driver, and a waiter (amongst others) against the sublime, menacing conditions of thunderstorms, tornadoes and volcanoes. Nature's fury somehow gently compliments the little figures, as they continue their activity unaware of the impending danger of their surroundings.
Throughout the gallery, a truly chilling, cacophonous melee of organ music is heard emanating from Clifton Childree's "Orchestrated Gestures." Childree, who delights in transforming the circus into veritable subconscious nightmares, raises the circus tent and moves into the realms of American and European history. Childree constructs three large-scale installations (placing himself as the star of his films embedded within the structures), which chronicle the sad existences of ragtime composer Scott Joplin (who died of syphilis in a New York insane asylum), mad King Ludwig of Bavaria (buried at the bottom of a lake by revolutionaries), and hypochondriac Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (once proclaiming himself 'God' and dying of a self-inflicted infection from a shaving wound). Using bedroom chests and boudoirs as the house of an arcade game, Childree produces a haunting, yet poignant picture of three mad geniuses whose lives were defined by folly and social marginalization.
This exhibition holds on tight and doesn't let go, even as you walk out of the black-washed space with its neon-green awning. See for yourself and experience the mad genius that directors Brook and Tyler-Emerson Dorsch have produced. Both exhibits will show until January 29, 2011.