Monday, January 26, 2009

More about Archipelago


for one week only:
February 22-March 1, 2009

An archipelago (pronounced /ɑrkəˈpɛləgoʊ/) is defined as being a chain or cluster of islands. They are usually found in the open sea, isolated from larger landmasses, and their formations are odd and intricate. Collectively, the islands of an archipelago record a moment in history; an earthquake, a volcanic eruption, a rising sea—all factors to which they owe their existence. Individually, the islands are fragments; pieces to a larger puzzle that tells the entirety of their story. In this way, the islands are a community, an identity that is interdependent, sharing a common origin while living and growing together.

In his new body of work, Zach Pearl develops these concepts of the archipelago and of community through his drawings. Highly-designed, highly-detailed, and above all surreal; Pearl’s Archipelago series is made up of 18 “portraits”. These portraits are of fictional characters, faces and creatures emerging from islands that float in an eerily calm ocean of white space. These portraits, Pearl describes as, “…partly autobiographical…facets of his own self, and his experiences as a current 20-something”.

Perfectly suspended between the carefree nature of his teenage years and the “settling down” often associated with turning 30, Pearl became inspired by the sensation of keeping one’s head above water that he feels best represents living in one’s mid-20’s. Archipelago has become a way for him to chronicle this experience.

For one week only, Archipelago will wash ashore at the Susan Hensel Gallery in South Minneapolis. A special brunch and reception will be held to open the exhibition on Sunday February 22nd from 12 to 4 p.m., to which all are welcome. Pearl will be present to greet guests and discuss the process of his breathtaking series, which involved creating five separate drawings on different layers of vellum and acetate to produce each finished piece. The result is a three-dimensional feel for each portrait, as well as a glassy sheen that emulates the ripples and reflective qualities of the water’s surface.

Besides the fact that Archipelago is Pearl’s largest body of work to date, this opening also celebrates Pearl’s two-year anniversary as an employee of the Susan Hensel Gallery, where he serves as the Assistant Coordinator. Always striving to be as active in his duties for the Gallery as possible, Pearl decided that a show of his own would be an excellent way to experience both sides of the exhibition process; both as the Artist and as the Administrator. This endeavor follows in the spirit of “Revisions of the American Dream”, an international group show at Susan Hensel Gallery in June of 2008 that Pearl single-handedly organized and curated to complete his internship for the gallery’s owner.

In addition, the day before the opening, on February 21st from 1 to 4 p.m., a very special takedown reception is being held for the closing of REVIEW=REFLECT=RECYCLE, an unusual retrospective by James Michael Lawrence. Lawrence, who produces thousands of digital collage prints each year will be clearing out his “artistic closet” by offering as many prints as people can pull off the walls of the gallery for any amount of donation that they are able to give. For those interested in attending both events, a very intriguing contrast awaits as Lawrence’s recent plethora of work reflects his newfound perspective on life at 60, as compared to the atmosphere of Archipelago that romantically buzzes with the uncertainty of young adulthood.

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