“This too shall pass. So be it.”
May 5th-May 28th, 2017
Elijah Wheat Showroom presents a group exhibit for a spring unlike any other. Our hearts have been heavy remembering those that have lost their lives too early, too young, too unjustly, too violently, and just too visibly in our media. We want to talk about grief. We hope to acknowledge death and the skewed way our Western culture portrays the perception of death, dying and the act of grieving. Loss manifests itself; it is always personal, as is the sorrow that follows. Many are touched by the intensity of the loss of a loved one earlier in their life, while others may not have gained the empathy that ensues-- due to the lack of experience of an intimate death. However, it’s not just humans that experience loss of other humans. Loss and grieving can extend to loved ones and passions. Such as: animals, an intense personal job, an important cultural movement, an election, etc.
So often, when confronted by another’s anguish of death, one may not know what to say, do, or share when responding to the mourning person. One would more likely have the capacity for empathetic communication if they faced a similar tragedy of untimely death, or intense loss. Also, there would be a better understanding if the grieving (within the presence of those survived) felt the permission to discuss the progression and stages grieving more openly. There are so many outside expectations for the grieving— projections of what historically we see in Hallmark Cards—yet how do we address the inconsolable genocide so far removed from our land yet portrayed in our media? How do we address the heartrending anguish of an unknown soldier, an unknown citizen, an unknown victim from gang related violence, or a known catastrophe of police brutality and murder? Images of death, dying and torture have been resurfacing online (since print regulations from the 70’s) only to reiterate the need to discuss all personal and political ramifications of human’s suffering, violence and war.
Presenting funerary elements in a combined white-cube setting, Jeffrey Grauel crafts a series of ‘hides’ with wool yarn positioned sculpturally on stations meant for wreaths next to a coffin. Nostalgia also beckons hobbyists who once were challenged by such pre-manufactured objects for idle hands. Here lies, an object meant for dexterity and productivity opposed to media scrolling. These delicately stand amongst each other, revealing on the backside images of those we may have revered and lost, such as: A dog, a cat, a horse, a Caucasian representation of ‘God’ and the ideals and presentation of a Native American Chief.
Cheryl Pope presents work close to home as she laments on the youth targeted and caught in the gunfire of some of the violent streets of S. Chicago. “Too Young Too Die” is a performative sculpture of carnations and roses in a ‘spray’ on the gallery wall that assuredly wilts as the exhibit carries on and time passes throughout the month.
Michael Dykehouse’s hyper-real oil paintings present political figures trapped in the presence of contemporary ideals. “Year of the Cock” summons #45’s aggressive, foul-mouthed protruding profile commemorating the ‘fire rooster’ of the Chinese Zodiac, 2017. The “’Always got mad when the class was dismissed’” painting portraying Betsy Devos devours the life of an apple while the figure reaches to strangle the viewer. This action exemplifies an act of belligerence by appointing her to the pinnacle of the USA’s educational governance, memorializing public education.
These works’ installation within the gallery serves as a reminder, honoring the passed, acknowledging bereavement and establishing a protected space to instigate dialogue about rampant death that citizens are experiencing personally and politically this year. We shall let time proceed, remembering the good, remembering the laughter, as our own inner clocks wind down (or speed up!) healing woes, shock, heartache, anguish while we evoke the affirmation: “This too shall pass. So be it.”