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Advocate Messenger March 4 (Hertz Show)

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Hertz Exhibit Press Release

 

 

 

Exhibition title: ReInterpret: Contemporary Landscapes by Billy Hertz

Artists: Billy Hertz, Kayla Bischoff, Lisa Simon, Jim Doiron, and Brad Devlin

Where: Community Arts Center

401 W. Main St.

Danville, KY

Danville Community Arts Center


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Exhibition Title: “Our City of the Flowers”

Artists: CRAIG BUNTING and MARK PUCKETT

Reception date:  January 22nd. from 1PM to 4PM

Exhibition dates: January 18th. til March 18th., 2017
Where: Galerie Hertz
1253 South Preston Street
Louisville, Ky. 40203
Phone: 502-581-8277

NEW WINTER HOURS

Hours: Wed.- Sat. 12 Noon – 5PM
(most Sundays Noon til 4PM,
phone to make sure we’re here !)
Contact: Billy Hertz
Email: galeriehertz@att.net
Web: galeriehertz.com

Our City of Flowers: review by Kayla Bischoff
Landscapes dense with bison, posters for blood ritual events, and mementos

from a fictional era fill the gallery. This two-person exhibition featuring Craig Buntingand Mark Puckett is visually stimulating and deeply conceptual. “Our City of the Flowers” presents an archaic history colliding with a futuristic cult in what Bunting describes as an “ancient future.” In a cyclical manner, the evolution of the world returns to a once pristine state. Humans reside in elevated observation decks, allowing the Earth to heal and replenish.

Craig Bunting’s science fiction utopian/dystopian concept takes several artistic

forms: drawings, manipulated photographs, painted mixed media, and graphic design. Among these, a poster advertising the “The Museum of Regimented Miseries”; the stark floral design is composed of words such as genocide, weaponry, war, and poverty. This black and white design brings to mind the prophetic subway chalk drawings by artist, Keith Haring. Bunting also borrows from cultures of the far distant past for inspiration. “Benevolent She Wolf No.1” is a charcoal drawing based on the 12th Century bronze “Capitoline Wolf” sculpture. “Blood Ritual” is a graphite drawing recalling Classic Mayan stelae in both subject matter, stylized rendering, and use of text. Also reading like poster for an event, this drawing gives the viewer another piece of the puzzle into the mysterious way of life in this alternate universe.

To further illustrate the concept, Craig Bunting reached out to photographer,

Mark Puckett, to collaborate and elaborate upon this world using photography.

Puckett’s works appear to be photographic documentation of the ways of life in this fictional era. Puckett’s photographs have a compelling film still quality, like the work of photographer, Cindy Sherman. This is especially true of Puckett’s “Sylvia Series.” While Bunting makes direct references to the art of antiquity, Puckett appropriates from 20th Century works. The “Sylvia Series” is based on a painting by Otto Dix titled, “Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia vonHarden,1926.” This series by Mark Puckett depicts women indulging in earthly vices. The composition and photographic quality of the works are theatrical and alluring. They embody a quality that brings to mind the cinematography of director, Stanley Kubrick. Puckett also creates a striking image through the use of a

bold primary color and strongly contrasting blacks and whites. Mark Puckett’s “The Performance of Guernica” is another series that is both aesthetically beautiful and conceptually fascinating. Nude models bring to life Pablo

Picasso’s “Guernica” painting through expressive movement and the holding of cut out shapes based on the original. This appropriated imagery embodies an inherent anti-war symbolism by highlighting a horrendous act against innocent civilians. Puckett’s series could be interpreted as a theatrical rendition warning of the turmoils of the past, as stated in Bunting’s poster, “The Museum of Regimented Miseries.”
Traditionally, folk art goes beyond mere aesthetics as an extension of a culture’s religion, rituals, and daily life. There is spiritual meaning and metaphorical origin stories behind many of these works. In reality, the North American bison were nearly wiped to extinction; Craig Bunting has created a world in which these animals now roam in the masses beneath watchful beings in elevated vessels. Larger-than-life charcoal drawings rendered expressively in a Franz Kline aesthetic demand ones attention. They exemplify a simplistic beauty and raw energy. “Bison with Viewing Ship” depicts the silhouetted essence of the bison in the foreground, as an omnipresent space craft
watches from a safe distance. “Bison Herd,” another monumental drawing in the series, depicts the middle ground saturated with bison and the ever present viewing vessel to the far right of the composition. The third drawing in the triptych places the viewer in a different perspective; a single buffalo confronts the viewers gaze. The animal is framed by dark shapes that could only be the legs of the elevated space ship.
Some of Bunting’s bison drawings bring to mind the pictographs of 19th Century paintings by North American indigenous people. While these paintings on animal hides often reveal depictions of bison hunts, Bunting’s work imagines a time of peace and a hands-off approach to the Earth.
One may interpret the show as an exhibit of artifacts from an alternate time, or a premonition of our inevitable fate. This dreamscape captures the imagination through a series of work by two skilled artists. “Our City of the Flowers” is a thoughtful body of work that holds a mirror to society and asks the viewer to contemplate where we’re going and where we’ve been.
Our City of the Flowers:
Drawings by Craig Bunting/Photographs by Mark Puckett
Review by Keith Waits
Entire contents copyright © 2017 Keith Waits. All rights reserved.
The work of two artists can be found on the walls of Galerie Hertz, yet the images stem from one artistic sensibility. Craig Bunting has executed a series of bold drawings that are paired with dark-themed photographs by Mark Puckett primarily shot following Bunting’s instructions.
Bunting’s oversize drawings are rendered in charcoal strokes opaque enough to be mistaken for ink, or at least a few dozen drained broad-tip Sharpies. They depict herds of bison in great, weighty mass, spread across the substrate as a dense field of intricate marks, bears, or, a bear, for they are depicted as individual entities paired with one human form; a graven, clerical figure that Bunting has labeled “Elder.”
The drawings are dominated by the relationship between nature and humankind, with a suggestion that there is still another layer of understanding to our guided destinies. Yet the photographs seem to be telling another story, one that exposes the dark and seamy aspect of human existence.

The exhibit is a lot to take in. A complex and seemingly contradictory narrative that contrasts the natural world against the decadence and corruption of modern society, all observed by omnipresent, extraterrestrial overlords (with apologies to Isaac Asimov). I’m not sure how easily viewers will make these connections on their own, but the exhibit statement builds pathways that help us get there:
‘There is pain and joy and love, pistils and pollen and ripening fruit, sex rituals and blood rituals, science and music and reminders of the ancient ones, paths left for us to follow to what awaits.  We shall work with our hands again, and the duties of one’s days will represent the value and worth of their lives.”
So the journey through the depravity and decadence requires a return to a primitive life that will allow us to reconnect to the earth and opens us up to ancient, mystical spiritual practices of a far more elemental nature than what modern society normally provides. Mark Puckett’s photographs range from highly stylized compositions that could serve as advertising for 1933 Berlin or Paris, to less polished images of a model whose body is painted in unflattering fashion, to a series that features nude human figures posing in tableau while holding cut-outs that echo Picasso’s “Guernica.” The allusion to the destruction of war is indirect but clear enough.Thus it is in that very contrast within the imagery itself that Bunting hopes to communicate his message. The Neo Weimar Republic photographs illustrate the evil contamination that we must escape; the corruption of our moral character through Hedonism and self-destruction. The forensic, journalistic quality of the photographic medium captures the grim and gritty reality of our current life, while the visionary ideal of the drawings feel like prospectus illustrations for a new world, springing from the mind’s eye of the artist, showing us nothing less than our path to salvation.

Our City of the Flowers: Drawings by Craig Bunting/Photographs by Mark Puckett
January 21 – March 18, 2017for more amazing reviews in Louisville go to


Great Group Exhibition Part 2, 2016

July 31st- Sept 10th

Featuring: Evan Fugazzi, Everett Ohland, Billy Hertz, Jean Salmon, Ellen Weiss, Ray Kleinhelter, Tad DeSanto

 

 

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Billy Hertz “Empty Reservoir” 2015

oil and pencil on gessoed paper mounted on panel 9 1/2″ X 12 1/2″

 

 

 

 

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Evan Fugazzi “Or”

Acrylic on panel 11″ X 14″