PEAT DUGGINS – WREATHS
Nov 3, 2012 through Jan 5, 2013
At the end of John Ford’s film, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, the character played by Vera Miles looks out a train window at the now-tamed American west and says to the film’s hero, played by Jimmy Stewart, “Look at it. It was once a wilderness, now it’s a garden. Aren’t you proud?”
Gardens occupy a space in between the built, domesticated world and the natural world. It is neither and both at the same time; a space in which nature is tamed and ordered for the intention of viewing. Petals and lush greenery are cultivated in a garden, decay and violence are not. Morphologically, a lady bug and a cockroach are nearly identical but the former is held to be auspicious and the latter repulsive. Romantic artists of the 18th and 19th centuries connected nature to the sublime, even the spiritual. Peat Duggings questions the way that nature is reduced to a fetish in his forth solo exhibition at Art Palace: Wreaths.
Wreaths explore the unique synergy of translating objects into drawings on a one-to-one scale. Duggins removes the external reference points so that the images of nature are understood outside of the context of art history, allegory, and narrative. Reduced to texture and pattern without symbolic meaning, the work in Wreaths becomes a sum of forces: patterns of embodied energy aimed at reclaiming the potent mystery of nature stripped away by aestheticization.