Thursday, October 18, 2012

WHITE RIVER JCT: A Review of Adam Blue: AstroExplorer

Adam Blue: AstroExplorer - A Guide to the Heavens
Main Street Museum, White River Junction

Through November 18, 2012

Review by Laura Di Piazza

Adam Blue’s current exhibition, AstroExplorer, at the Main Street Museum, takes us through three distinct spheres. “Constellations for the New Millennium” consists of 84 drawings and text pieces, providing concise and sometimes blunt discourse on current environmental, political, and social issues, as well as pop culture. Its range is wide – from the garbage dump epidemic in the Pacific Ocean to easily accessible online porn.

Sprinkled within the commentary of our times is what I view as the "consolations" of the constellations: horoscopes. I was born under the sign of the Predator Drone. When things do not go well for the Predator Drone, AstroExplorer’s horoscope wisely advises: “Never you mind, you can always take refuge in the Pringles and Mountain Dew that feed your soul.” (Wow, it’s like that was written just for me.)  In this series Blue also juxtaposes contrasting features. For example, "Goth Fairies" is a drawing of a levitating fairy in Dominatrix style attire, with crop in hand, and angelic wings.

Not all is fun and games; there’s also serious commentary on social injustice. As seen in "There’s Margin$ in the Marginalized.” In this series Blue accurately depicts, in an uncensored manner, the tone of our current and common form of modern-day information consumption: “sound-bites.”

The next series in this exhibition, “How the White Cube Hangs Once the Gallery Has Closed,” is a photographic collection of site-specific journeys of the White Cube. If the “Constellations for a New Millennium” is like the WiFi in the home then “How the White Cube Hangs Once the Gallery Has Closed” must surely be the balcony. Here, the moment calls for reflection and space. The traveling minimalist White Cube becomes part of the landscape by being a participant within a site, however still it may appear. The White Cube makes observations that we may ourselves ponder, like when in the produce section of a supermarket: “Eating organic whenever you can is important.”

Raking Leaves Can Be Totally Zen.

The final series is a collection of 12 finely executed gouache drawings that unfold like riddles. This series reminds me of the coziness of bedtime stories and the vast inner-space those words can hurl me into.  In this case Blue’s paintings send my imagination running and questioning. Will Artificial Intelligence one-day wonder, “Who am I?” Do our internal forces no longer shield themselves within powerful symbols but instead hides within sugary snacks? Why is that monkey swinging with a cell phone in his hand? Is he too distracted by the ever-shifting monkey-mind that plagues my sleep before important meetings/events the following day? I wonder.

Laura Di Piazza is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who lives in Hanover, NH, and works in her little Mill studio in White River Junction, Vt

Adam Blue is the Education Director at AVA Gallery and Art Center, a nonprofit community art center in Lebanon, NH and is an art editor of The Whitefish Review, a semi-annual, nonprofit, literary and arts journal.