Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Take a look at 'Profit & Loss'

New show questions mass consumption

Express Staff Writer

"Chasing the Dragon" by Matthew Cusick: Mixed media and maps on prepared panel at The Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum.

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts in Ketchum hopes to stir up a few ideas on the state of wealth in our nation with the opening of its latest multidisciplinary project, "Profit & Loss."

The opening will take place Saturday, May 26, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Curated by The Center's artistic director, Kristin Poole, "Profit & Loss" was clarified in part by a recent trip Poole made to Las Vegas. The attitude of the gamblers gave her pause. Poole said she felt that one man's "intractable" and drone-like state seemed to represent the vacuity of the scene's "opportunity, hope and desire."

The exhibition will explore the nature of greed and its influence on people through the works of various artists.

Idaho artist and Boise Gallery owner Stephanie Wilde's work "Harmed" is a response to energy giant Enron's scandalous and deplorable practices.

The mixed-media collages of Marcus Kenney question the idea of commerce and the changing landscape of consumption and its waste that could be a permanent state of existence void of life and spirit.

Through photographs and video projects, internationally recognized artist Minerva Cuevas brings a unique perspective of the grand scope of how corporations become recognized symbols of everyday life.

In addition, the images created by Jooyeon Park and Gabriel Kuri reveal a desensitized and disconnected culture caused by advertising and exchange. Kuri uses everyday records of commerce to reveal the exposure of information in which trust is almost a non-issue—a common business practice that exists without question.

Representing a different aspect of mass wealth, Rob Conger uses folk-art such as latch-hook rugs to find humor in deconstructed high art. He portrays some of the more notable business leaders whose philanthropic donations are admirably high in terms of their corporations' incomes.

Painter and collage artist Matt Cusick takes a look at the inner workings of capital development through maps revealing its sociopolitical history.

"I think this show is very important to me. My work has always dealt with land and occupation and humanity's intention for it," Cusick said. "As an artist and when you are dealing with aesthetics you understand why people want to shape and create something."

Cusick said his fascination and understanding of maps had a great deal of political importance.

"I started collecting maps with gas company maps, road maps and then I got hold of some late-19th-century map books, which were actually school books from 1890," he said. "What is interesting about the books is that they were published when the frontier disappeared. Once I started learning that a map is a political tool, I realized maps existed because of imperialism and the need to conquer and find."

Cusick will be present at The Center's opening of "Profit & Loss" on Saturday, May 26.

"Certainly all of these artists reveal parts of the human story that are unsettling," Poole said. "Cumulatively, they tell of a culture that is out of sync with its values.

"As always, it is artists who have the ability to reflect back to us what is happening in our society."

For more information and a schedule of upcoming programs at The Center, call 726-9491 or visit

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