The Violet Hour: Works Based on T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land

18 Jun

The violet hour is dusk, a temporal bridge from the clarity of daylight to the obfuscation of night. Borrowing a phrase from T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land for its title, this exhibition presents art about a twilight time that may be our immediate future. Artists Matthew Day Jackson, Jen Liu, and David Maljkovic imagine alternative realities that could emerge from the socio-political strife and environmental degradation now accumulating on the global stage. The Violet Hour features video, sculpture and two-dimensional works that address the physical and emotional weariness of our time in an attempt to overcome the cultural amnesia preventing us from learning the lessons of history.

Matthew Day Jackson debuts three new works, including a sculpture consisting of a crashed race car frame lit with low rider effects and an immense wood panel “painting” depicting the constellations of the night sky, made from the coin currencies of many nations. Jackson’s work explores events in American history and envisions a future of uprisings rectifying past injustices.

Jen Liu’s videos and large scale watercolor drawings feature the “Brethren of the Stone,” a back-to-nature cult that clashes with modern industrial society. Beyond the battle between nature and technology, her work underscores issues of state power and civil disobedience, modernity and nostalgia, and a comical take on science fiction and recent pop culture.

In his videos and collaged photographs, Croatian artist David Maljkovic depicts his generation as lost and listless souls unmoored from their own heritage by years of warfare. Maljkovic finds inspiration for his work in the nostalgic desire for the socialist system at a time when his country is entering the increasingly globalized European Union.

The Henry Art Gallery: Stroum Gallery
June 21 – October 12, 2008
Free for students.

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2 Responses to “The Violet Hour: Works Based on T.S. Elliot’s The Waste Land

  1. betsey June 18, 2008 at 1:00 pm #

    Students are welcome to come to the exhibition’s opening celebration, too! Live music, refreshments, and of course new ART! Plus, if you’re a card-carrying student member – your admission is FREE. If not, you’re in for $8 instead of $10!

    Also, while the title is taken from “the Waste Land,” and refers to an idea the poet proposes – the artworks and the exhibition are not based on Eliot’s poem.

  2. Sara Krajewski June 19, 2008 at 12:13 pm #

    Thanks for the coverage of our new exhibition! The works in the show, however, are not based on Eliot’s poem. Rather, as the show’s curator, I borrowed a line from the poem to suggest our current cultural, political, environmental climates. None of the artists reference Eliot, but their work fits into this world view.

    Sara Krajewski, Henry Art Gallery

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