Adam Bartos at Rose Gallery
The irrepressible Reverend Ethan Acres, the Las Vegas based artist and preacher, spreads his artistic antics through performances and gallery exhibitions, which brings to mind the crazed manic energy and inspired dramatics of Robin Williams.
Almost three years have passed since his last show at Patricia Faure Gallery, with its life-size installations of motorized pigs shaking and making nasty sounds towards approaching visitors. Reverend Ethan Acres' new exhibition continues to engage its audience in the eternal battle between Divine and Evil. Two gigantic inflatable figures of Jesus and the Devil are placed at opposite sides of the Main Gallery. Made out of bright colored nylon tubes attached to air machines, these nylon sculptures do not sit still but constantly move.
Jesus bends over, his head almost touching the floor and then, with a jerking move, he straightens up, resuming a crucified position, thirteen feet high, arms spread twelve feet wide. On the opposite wall, the Prince of Darkness moves rather pathetically from side to side, his long tail tangled between his legs to maximum scatalogical effect.
Both inflatable incarnations of Jesus and the Devil are so over the top that without any drugs in your system you feel as if you have been sent on a trip. The effect is frightening, exhilarating, and strangely liberating.
And now, let's change gears, shall we? Across Bergamot Station, at the Rose Gallery, there is a show of large color photographs by Adam Bartos, the New York-based photographer. The subject of his strangely melancholic images is the Soviet Era Space Program, which attempted to prove the superiority of the Soviet system over the rotten capitalist society. Cold war competition drained the emotional and material resources of the Soviet colossus, whose many strengths proved to be rather inflated.
How strange and gratifying that all that provides inspiration and becomes the subject for the haunting images of Adam Bartos.
One of the few areas of competition between the United States and the U.S.S.R. where Russians won the battle was the space program. Russian Sputnik and the first astronaut in space, Yuri Gagarin, made a huge impression on America and the world. Few understand the price Russians paid for this remarkable achievement. Adam Bartos' photographs show once forbidden images of the secret military factories and launch sites, from where mighty rockets would shoot into space. The people who made these impressively ugly space concoctions used to be among the Russian elite, secluded from the outside world, not allowed contact with foreigners. Their portraits and the crumbling apartments they live in are the eloquent documents of lives worth studying, though it is tempting to dismiss them as unworthy. Adam Bartos, as so many artists these days, goes for seemingly mundane subjects. What distinguishes his images is his ability to hint at something hiding behind the edges of the frame and under the murky colors of ordinary objects.
For more information, contact:
Reverend Ethan Acres
April 13-May 11, 2002
Patricia Faure Gallery
April 13-May th, 2002