TURN THE OTHER EYE, A CURATED ART PARTY

TURN THE OTHER EYE, A CURATED ART PARTY

On April 15, 2016, Rebecca George exhibited 75 works at Arts on Elston Gallery in Chicago. This solo exhibition, Turn the Other Eye, was well received, and included a collaboration with designer Beth Borum, curators Arthur Connor, Christine Connor, Mary Dorrell, JoAnn Hayden and Ken Hogrefe. The exhibition was featured in The Third Coast Review, Le Femmes Folles, The Visualist, The Art Guide and other publications.

An edited view of the exhibition works for sale is available for a limited time.

Art Historian Virgina Voedisch authored a forward to the exhibition, included in the catalog:

"Exhibition Catalog Foreword by Art Historian, Virginia Voedisch:
Upon first reading, the title of Rebecca George’s exhibition Turn the Other Eye suggests a rejection, a turning away.  It’s true to some degree.  Her last show Have Many Rabbit was a farewell of sorts to her animal pictures, assembling a rich repertoire of paintings, prints and drawings, primarily of rabbits, that celebrate their lives and document the loss of her companion animals.  These works, some of which are included in this current exhibition, demonstrate not only George’s fluency in a variety of media but her restless desire to capture the delicious and mysterious realm of animal life, to permeate the mystery that links us to animals but forever holds us outside. Living with an animal connects us more closely with nature, a double-edged sword that’s both life- and death-affirming. George’s visceral experience of loss and transformation is powerfully revealed in as a work such as Covenant of Sorrow. 

Coinciding with the animal-themed works are lush, figural paintings that more deeply probe the issue of identity and transformation. State of Being (Hard on Myself), for example, presents a sisterhood of selves, somnambulant nudes shape shifting in dreamy blues. Recalling Paul Gauguin’s symbolist paradises and totemic figures, these women literally bear their losses, imprinted like tattoos on their bodies. Cloaked figures haunt canvases as sepulchral visions or as chrysalides foretelling metamorphosis. 

In 2015, the passages of pure, expressive pigment found in the animal and figural paintings gave way to complete abstraction in a small but important body of work.  Distilling her painting down to its most basic, George poured and dripped paint, which she often made from powdered pigment, onto large-scale canvases.  This period of free, dynamic expression liberated from narrative content served as a crucible of sorts, allowing her latest paintings to fuse content and form even more powerfully.

George’s latest works suggest a different reading of the exhibition title. The phrase alludes to Jesus’ directive to turn the other cheek, suggesting acceptance and grace. And it literally references choosing another viewpoint, another way to look.  These recent works do suggest an internalization and transformation of earlier conflicts and concerns.  In Reveal Thyself, for example, the figure lies in a yogic Child’s Pose on a mat of earth and flowers, submitting herself to not only life’s generative power, witnessed in the budding plants, but also its destructive side evidenced by the bloody smear near the figure’s hands and its transcendent forces silhouetted as a delicate cross of grass blades near the face.  George’s animal figures become iconic and symbolic.  Burial, a depiction of beloved dead rabbit adorned with funereal offerings, has the singular focus and solemn reserve of Victorian death portraits. With its gilded background and Latin inscription Lepus Amatus (Rabbit Beloved, Is) acts as a medieval icon, a tool of devotion and a channel of communication between the earthly world and the realm of spirits.  It is as if by changing this view, turning an eye, the active agent of abstraction has allowed animal, figure and emotional state to co-exist; their natures not resolved but laid out in all their mysterious glory."