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Reviews for Resident Calder Kamin’s Exhibition at the grayDUCK Gallery in Austin

Tamed Territory
grayDUCK Gallery, Austin
July 20- August 19, 2012
featuring Calder Kamin, Casey Polacheck and Areca Roe

See the exhibition online: http://www.grayduckgallery.com/exhibition_Tamed_Territory.html

‘Tamed Territory’

Three artists take on the Animal Kingdom and document wildlife with great creativity


<i>Roadkill Armadillo</i>, by Calder Kamin

Roadkill Armadillo, by Calder Kamin

‘Tamed Territory’

grayDUCK Gallery, 608-C Monroe, 826-5334
Through Aug. 20
Good things come in threes, they say, and that’s especially true at grayDUCK Gallery, where the exhibitions tend to feature three artists. “Tamed Territory,” the latest show in this right-off-South-First gallery, provides evidence of that (the goodness and the triplicity) with works by Calder Kamin, Casey Polacheck, and Areca Roe.

Kamin sculpts animals in ceramics, “some that resemble kitsch figurines and others rendered slightly more realistic.” A pair of tigers, part-white, part-orange, prowling atop a pedestal. A brief suite of endangered species on one white shelf. A sweet array of bats – Austin’s own Mexican free-tailed variety and the adorably kawaii flying fox among them – hanging on a wall. There’s a pair of road-killed creatures, too, poignant testament to the sadder intersections of wilderness and civilization: an armadillo and a rabbit. (Poor dear dead and bloodied bunny, realistically rendered and already sold.)

Polacheck’s paintings of animals-in-nature and animals-in-dioramas use oil on canvas to bring a sort of Twilight Zone slant to the depictions. Just what is it that those canines have discovered through digging, in The Coyote Diorama? The solo monkey snacking on the contents of a termite mound in The Chimpanzee Diorama looks as if it might beg your pardon and request some Grey Poupon. And that pair of carrion birds in The Vulture Diorama … you know, they’re somehow less threatening if you’re reading this review in our printed edition.

Roe’s photographs of animals, reproduced here as large archival pigment prints, are as lovely as some of what you might see in the pages of National Geographic, but these creatures aren’t shot in the wild. Roe’s done a tour of several national zoos and captured their caged and unnaturally accommodated denizens in that context. “Are we protectors, exploiters, or compatriots?” asks the accompanying grayDUCK literature. Whatever the answer, it’s certain that we – at least, Roe and Polacheck and Kamin – are creative documentarians of animals. Which is what this exhibition is about, really. As Kamin’s endangered-species group says via its arch title: Collect Them All Before They’re Gone.

Resident Calder Kamin Featured in Three-Person Exhibition at Gray Duck Gallery in Austin

 grayduck presents:Tamed Territory

Calder Kamin, Casey Polacheck & Areca Roe

opening reception: friday, july 20, 7-9pm

exhibition dates: july 20 – august 20, 2012
gallery hours: wed, fri, sat 11-6pm, thur 4-8pm & sun 12-5pm

grayduckgallery.com | 512.826.5334
608 w. monroe st. | suite c | austin tx 78704

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Human’s relationship with the environment and animals has always been complicated. This exhibition explores the longstanding love affair with animals and how that affects them and their landscape. This show features ceramics by Calder Kamin, paintings by Casey Polacheck and photographs by Areca Roe.

Calder KaminCalder Kamin

I sculpt animals in ceramics, some that resemble kitsch figurines and others rendered slightly more realistic. Biophilia theory explains that humans inherently need to coexist with a nature, yet our capability to construct the type of nature we want affects biodiversity. The mammal with the “largest brain” and the “biggest heart” will favor its emotions over responsibility. For example there are more tigers existing in Texas than in the wild due to a lack of regulations for breeding exotic animals and the destruction of their native habitat.  There is something wrong with manufacturing animals for human interest when we don’t make space where the species belongs. My fabricated fauna illustrate our complicated relationship with animals.

Casey PolacheckCasey Polacheck

The works rely on an array of subtle narratives, simple fragments of an idea. Each attempts to convey puzzles of representation and inherent faults of imagery, natural or fabricated. They hint at parody of the pictured world and the narratives that surround them, from the source of a work’s inception to its viewing. Often the works call attention to themselves. They may not always function as a metafictional piece of literature would, but can carry a similar tone or sense of self-awareness. There is meant to be something to ruminate over, but for no more than the sake of an enjoyable thought. No idea depicted is wholly mocking or reliant on its visual cynicism. Those ideas can remain comfortably obscured.

Areca RoeAreca Roe

Animals represent a multitude of different, conflicting meanings to us, whether we are consuming them, housing them as companions, using their images to decorate our homes and sell our products, or enclosing wild animals. Are we protectors, exploiters, or compatriots? Zoos serve as a clear manifestation of the state of our relationship to wild animals. They are a manufactured point of contact with the wild, and fulfill some need we have as humans to connect with nature, with wildness, and perhaps to have dominion and control over that wildness. The animals are both revered and constrained by us.