John Delk
Noelle Mason
Conor McGrady
October 10 – December 20, 2008
Opening reception Friday October 10, 6:00 – 9:00 pm

Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present STATE OF THE UNION, an exhibition with artists John Delk, Noelle Mason, and Conor McGrady, October 10 through December 20, 2008. The artists’ work critically mirrors the current status of the United States as an ideological gun-toting machine whose devotion to global domination and hegemony manifests as thinly disguised totalitarianism. The exhibition acknowledges the ironic mixture of idealism and violence that are characteristic of the contemporary US social and political landscape.

Addressing terrorism, police brutality, immigration, political greed, the Bush administration, and the blinkered ways in which many Americans choose not to view their country’s political standing from a global perspective, Delk, Mason, and McGrady go way beyond simple derision in their practice.

John Delk serves up a candy-coated American flag and a hole in gallery floor spewing George Bush’s past five State of the Union speeches, edited to contain only fear-inducing buzzwords and phrases. Reiterated to the point of nauseating numbness, the works reveal Americans’ ability to sugar-coat horror and convert sound bytes into palatable truisms. Delk is a Brooklyn-based artist whose work has been exhibited nationally in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington. He received an MFA in 2001 from the School of the Art Institute.

Noelle Mason’s window installation of Mag-lites spelling the word SILENCE in Braille explores the artificial means by which we extend our ability to see. Simple and powerful, flashlights both illuminate the subject and obscure the identity of the user, giving the user – in this case the gallery – powers of x-ray vision violating the space of passersby, and invisibility. Another work made of illuminated stained glass projects a surveillance image of 9/11/2001 hijackers passing through security at the Portland airport. Mason graduated the School of the Art Institute’s MFA program in 2005. Her work has been exhibited internationally and locally at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Betty Rymer Gallery, and the University of IL. She recently joined the faculty of the University of Houston’s sculpture department.

Conor McGrady’s four new vignettes are de-contextualized portraits depicting roles played by those at various levels within the political power machine. Each serving their purpose methodically and succinctly, McGrady’s cast of characters carry out their chilling missions implicating the viewer as a powerless witness to an unstoppable criminal act. Conor McGrady studied at the University of Northumbria, Newcastle, UK, before receiving his MFA at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. Most recently his work has been exhibited in the one-person exhibitions, ‘New Arcadia’ at M.Y. Art Prospects, New York and ‘Green and Pleasant Land’, Saltworks, Gallery, Atlanta. In 2009 he has upcoming one-person exhibitions at Claremorris Gallery, Claremorris, Ireland and Gallery Karas, Zagreb, Croatia. In 2002 he was selected to participate in the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.He currently lives and works in New York.

Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11 – 6

State of the Union

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