Four local artists will create an installation of “Creature Comforts” at the Cambridge Art Association’s Kathryn Schultz Gallery from October 6 through November 2. The installation will be accompanied by the sound of spring “peepers” — small frogs that make a resonant pond chorus in the spring with their mating calls — serving as the backdrop for a New Gallery Concert Series event on October 20 at 7 p.m. that brings together new pieces of music and visual art.
The show is curated by Gin Stone, who lives and works on Cape Cod and is a highly passionate environmentalist who uses her artistic craft to encourage the recycling of marine materials and gear by integrating it into her animal, bird and “Humane Taxidermy” sculptural pieces. Close study of her work reveals discarded pieces familiar to anyone who cherishes walking along a seashore. Especially striking is “Freyja,” which eerily resembles a shorebird whose tormented eyes and open mouth suggests it’s in pain, and should cause the viewer to contemplate the effect of materials used in the work ending up inside nature’s beloved creatures.
“I use hand-dyed, reclaimed, local long-line fishing gear as a medium,” Stone said. “The material itself is part of the work’s narrative for ocean and environmental preservation. The subjects of the work include humane taxidermy, aka anti-hunting animal trophies and mythical chimera with current social commentary.”
Stone’s work is joined by that of fellow artists Gail Samuelson, Christine Kyle and Daniel Zeese. This writer’s comments are based on photographs and mission statements of and on their work, along with interviews with the artists conducted six weeks prior to the show’s opening. Only time will tell if the installation lives up to their ambitious plans and dreams for the space — attend the opening reception October 6 and make your own determination.
Georgia O’Keefe is famous for painting flowers that she insisted, to her dying day, were just “flowers.” And she is right. But many viewers said, “No, they are about SEX!” With knowledge of Freudian symbol systems, one may look at O’Keefe’s floral paintings and see phallic and vulva symbols embedded in her flowers and say, “It’s about sex.” So, there is an interpretive tension between the intent of the artist and that of the viewer. For O’Keefe’s paintings, I would judge both interpretations to be correct.
The artists participating in “Creature Comforts” have elaborate and creative words to describe their proposed work and its symbolism, but only by viewing the real product can the viewer decide between the stated dreams and the actual realized installation. As an artist myself, I know that as I try to make my vision into a physical object, the challenge is often fraught with problems: the wood is too hard, the oversized prints too expensive, my space too small, my arms too tired. So, we will have to wait to see if “Creature Comforts” is “flowers” or “sex.”