Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Shinji Turner-Yamamoto at GRACE

The GRACE main gallery stands at the corner of a busy intersection in Reston Town Center. Its storefront windows open to sidewalk and street traffic passing day and night. In contrast to this bustling cityscape, from October 11 through November 14, 2008 Shinji Turner-Yamamoto transforms the GRACE interior gallery into a quiet, meditative space by introducing a natural element - a large dead dogwood tree, lying on its side across the room as though asleep. Along its trunk and branches, the artist will plant tiny fern seedlings which will grow and carpet the dead tree with lush, new foliage.

Taking a tree out of its natural context –the forest floor – and placing it on the gallery floor, Turner-Yamamoto hopes that viewers experience nature in a novel and surprising way. His intention is to make the connections and similarities between plant life and humanity visible, emphasizing the interconnectedness of all life.

In an adjacent gallery, Turner-Yamamoto exhibits preparatory drawings, photographs, and a series of works developed in Finland during a residency preceding the exhibition. These two and three dimensional works incorporate the dogwood tree’s seeds, leaves, and twigs; red clay from around its roots is used as pigment. After the gallery exhibition, the tree will be moved to a woodland setting to continue its natural evolution.

Sleeping Tree is part of Turner-Yamamoto’s ongoing Global Tree Project, a series of site-specific installations mounted in India, Ireland, Japan, and now Virginia. Through these varied projects, the artist offers viewers a new way to see trees by illuminating the similarities in our life cycles as entities that grow, flourish, and leave the world enhanced for the next generation.
The Greater Reston Art Center's fascinating new exhibit opens with a reception on Saturday, October 11 from 5-7PM.

Art and the women of this year's election

By Annie Whitmore

Searching for inspiration for an upcoming exhibit, Chicago fetish painter Katie Cain, aka Kate Tastrophe, found it in a forwarded email about the women of this year's election.

"As a general rule I paint sexy, sadistic women," she says. "This email comes in, bashing the women who have been in the political spotlight this year, and I knew I had it."

"I think I had the most fun with 'Hillary Clinton as Lizzie Borden', I was cracking up the whole time I was painting it. She has this great cartoon supervillan thing going on, those crazy eyes and those wacko expressions on her face. The funny thing is, I didn't have to alter her expression one bit to turn her from exuberant campaigner into psychotic Victorian axe murderess, I only changed the context," Kate explained.

"'Michelle Obama as Marie Antoinette' wasn't much of a stretch, really." She continues. "A wealthy, pampered, social climbing elitist who thinks her own countrymen are disgusting little parasites. Do I mean Obama or Antoinette? Hard to tell the difference. I was looking at this photo of her and I just imagined her in the White House sneering 'Let them eat cake!'"

Sarah Palin as MILFBut the Dems aren't the only ones on the business end of the brush. "Oh, I'm an equal opportunity hater," Kate laughs, "The Republicans irritate me, too. Sarah Palin would say something completely frightening and everyone would go, "Yeah, but she's a total MILF." For those of you who are unfamiliar, the meaning of "MILF" is not fit to print. "So, even though she is this sadistic, nasty woman, people keep going bats over her looks. So I painted her as this sadistic, nasty soul-sucker, and that little pit bull remark she made stuck in my head, there's her Hound Of Hell at her side."

The works are not yet on Kate's website at, but they will be publicly unveiled at the Annual Halloween Art Exhibit in Chicago at the St. Paul Cultural Center, 2215 W. North Avenue on October 18th. Kate assured us she will be there in person. "I'm anxious to see what people say about this stuff," she says. "So far, the response has been positive. But the people who know me expect this sort of thing out of me. I love to cause trouble."

--Annie Whitmore
News On The Fringe