Wendy Given and Ryan Pierce have collaborated to present a variety of new sculptures, paintings, drawings and photographs drawn from the intersection of their creative visions: the nocturnal, the nonhuman, and the wildness that resides in each of us. Nocturne presents an otherworldly collection of natural, surreal, mysterious and awe-inspiring work that draws the viewer into a mode of processing and understanding nature, folklore, myth and mystery.
Flowers droop in decay from an upside down sculpted head vase, a white peacock looks over his shoulder surrounded by preserved moss, palm leaves, flowers and ferns, a gilded scythe hangs on the wall inscribed with a prayer to the natural world, a sketched vulture consumes an atrophying human carcass against a dark background, botanical illustrations marry the surreal with the biological, a mirrored octahedron rests in the center of one room, reflecting a photograph of close-up moth fur, beetles consuming grapes, a raven clutching an animal skull in its beak, and a giant chandelier made of peacock feathers.
Given and Pierce’s work suspends time and reality in a meditation on the surreal and the unexamined: a moth rests in a vintage glass box, cameo style images of panthers atop pine trees and mystical forces of the night hang on the wall, and a painted rendition of a glass box broken at the base of a trickling creek overwhelms part of the room. The folk art-feel of the exhibition illicits a sense of dread, that reality is centered in myth, that decay and death are all around us, that we are uncertain. Both rooms in whitespace’s gallery have their own essence of the natural. One is a space of observation and mystifying beauty of the preserved. The other feels vintage and antique, featuring the kinds of artifacts one may find in a grandmother’s attic.
The universal message of this collaboration is one of appreciation, examination and presentation. The appreciation of the natural world in all its elements, plants, moths, a coiled white snake, a white peacock, panthers; an examination of life and a collective consciousness surrounding the natural, mortality, the circle of life; and a presentation of nature’s cruel and yet, just forces.
Given and Pierce’s collection is one of the beauty found in the forgotten and the unobserved, but also a confrontation. We, as humans, are all dependent on the natural world, and yet, we are responsible for its desecration.
Written by: Hilleary Gramling