A Look at Cawein Gallery’s Exhibit
When I walked into the Cawein gallery on Friday, March 10, I was astounded at the variety of pieces in the exhibit as well as my inability to accurately define their set meaning, which I soon realized was the point of the entire exhibit. Sophia Hatzikos is an MFA candidate at Washington University in St. Louis.
“(Hatzikos), whose work is driven by the potential to give old things new life – to stretch their use well past expiration or planned obsolescence – and to envision possibilities for raw materials beyond their purposes as currently understood,” reads a description of the work from the Office of The Provost, at the University of Washington, St. Louis (provost.wustl.edu).
The barebones “meaning” of the work relates to the world we live in and how humanity uses the resources bestowed upon us, at least that’s what I’ve garnered from my few visits to the gallery. It includes abstract figures made of clay, some of which are hung on the walls and look like Lovecraftian abominations and the others resemble some macabre figures that could either be ice-cream sundaes drenched in chocolate syrup on scrap metal or oil-drenched bones. There was a wall with numerous rows of jars of dried corn, which could embody the foodstuff that inevitably rots within our vast storehouses. Wasting away simply because of bureaucracy. Paintings of misshapen islands within a blue field, which I viewed as those isles of trash the size of Texas or France floating aimlessly within the oceans, some of which were extremely unsettling and reminded me, somewhat, of the ominous paintings of Francis Bacon. A mound of soil tossed over metal sculptures painted green could represent the growth of industry over the fertile soil. The waste of that aforementioned soil for the industry that’ll soon crumble and be resided to roadside heaps of rusting metal after the owners of said factory move their business to some country that lacks unions and labor laws.
A poem, presumably written by Hatzikos, reads in the gallery, “visible patterns link systems/we rely on: raw-manipulated-produced-transformed-extracted/resources/draw…” The entire exhibit concerns this continuous ravaging and extraction of the earth and our inability to recognize that we are sapping our planet of its plentiful yet finite resources. Our continuous ignorance and complacency of this rapid and rabid mechanized modernity. — Luke Whitaker