New Downtown Exhibition:Marty Weishaar: Rural October 4- November 8, 2013
S.U. Downtown Art Galleries: 118 N. Division Street, Salisbury, 21804 Opening Reception and Artist Talk: October 4, 5 PM.
Using the beautiful, yet crude, elements of cardboard and colored tape, along with greeting cards, mashed-up paintings, drawings and other found elements, Weishaar creates an informative study of a community dealing with an ecological and humanitarian crisis. The particular issue at the heart of this show is the coal mining process of mntaintop removal taking place in West Virginia. Current mining practices blow up the top third of a mountain to extract coal from the top down.
This invasive process destroys the local flora and fauna, which are dumped over the side of the mountain into the holler below. This process negatively impacts the genreal health of the community, which forces families to move and schools to close. Yet, mining has created economic opportunities, albeit only for the non-union worker. Weishaar uses visual signifiers to subvert the establishment’s propaganda and engage in an existentialist activism, making topological connections between environmentalism, installation art and the “American Dream”.
“Thematically based on the environmental and sociological degradation of the Appalachian Mountains, Coal mining is erasing the mountains in West Virginia with a process called mountain top removal. Collective ecological understanding is prompting a dehumanization order resulting from the industries anthropocentric expansion. This exhibition makes topological connections between environmentalism, installation and relational-aesthetics.
This exhibition is an informative study of a community dealing with an ecological and humanitarian crisis. Visual signifiers of greeting cards, cardboard anthems, mountains, structures, play and craft are used to subvert the establishments propaganda only to engage in a existentialist activism-what are we doing?
On the walls, two-dimensional projects create a discourse represented by stitching, greeting cards, drawings and paintings. “Americans” identity- man takes what he wants, propagates these relationships. And in tern, the denial of eco-social issues have become assimilated into the daily routine as the propagated dream has become justified.
Interactive structures will stand on the floor: sculptural representations of houses, barns and shacks found in the back woods near a coalmine. Each structure will have hinges for the viewer to look inside. Inside, scenarios of lost people, made from tape and paper will act out their domestic imperfections. They live in limbo, jointly questioning their human conditions-what went wrong with the “American Dream”?
On the floor cardboard mountains will interact with the structures, creating the community. The mountains are physically destroyed by the symbolic ideals of “natures-order,” then re-built by the coal industries sovereign development. Current mining practices blow up the top third of a mountain in order to extract coal from the top down. This invasive process destroys the local flora and fauna, which is dumped over the side of the mountain into the hollow below. This process negatively impacts the general health of the community which forces family’s to move and schools to close. And yet, mining has created economic opportunities, albeit only for the non-union worker. Environmental and economic opportunities are discursive globalized relationships that are far greater than a good over evil conservationist position. But, humanitarian focus on growing labor markets challenges the purpose of the mountain from collaborator to provider. Written in cardboard letters, on the side of a mountain, Which Side Are You On. A song written in 1931 is a response to the battle between management and labor that applies to today’s crisis; here, in the eyes of the humanitarian there are no winners.
Existing globalized energy markets, corporations and governments are more than able to resist legal penetration from litigators and non-violent activists. And yet, activists continue to strengthen in numbers. Visual language adds to the discourse by publicizing issues surrounding ecology, humanitarian relief and advocated for environmental change. And while the rising generation of artists and intellectual’s work towards solutions, the concentration of problems will inevitably become more confusing as populations and energy dependence grows. From this position, grassroots leadership and ethical change will only happen by the people who occupy the resistance.”