P E A T .. D U G G I N S
The Great White Whale
Opening Reception: Friday, October 29th, 2015, 6-8pm
Exhibition runs through December 19, 2015.
The meaning of The Great White Whale is malleable. The White Whale is that which is outside of ourselves and though its presence is significant, its interpretation is up for grabs. Art Palace presents The Great White Whale, an exhibition of sculptures and drawing by Peat Duggins.
In The Great White Whale, Duggins continues to refine themes from previous bodies of work, in this case as a body of related sculptures. Emphasizing the discrepant seductive and repellent aspects of the natural world, Duggins uses a very limited palette of cast resin, charred wood, and dyed industrial felt to draw viewers into works that are at once meditative and grotesque.
The exhibition takes its title, of course, from Moby Dick. Duggins juxtaposes Melville’s allegory of the White Whale with the most sacred and auspicious symbol amongst America’s plains natives, the White Buffalo. In keeping with Duggins’ frequent use of film references, the White Buffalo also appears in the eponymous 1977 Charles Bronson creature-flick, itself a recasting of Moby Dick, in which Wild Bill Hickock teams up with Crazy Horse to exterminate the murderous beast. The sculpture White Buffalo rides the line between taxidermy trophy and shamanic talisman. The sculpture takes the form of a traditional mount but recast and tweaked so that it is unclear whether it is natural and relaxed or synthetic and disturbed.
The Great White Whale is about the power of nature, whether good, evil, or dumb-and-blind.