Peonies at a Crime Scene @ Neon Heater
Peonies at a Crime Scene suggests vibrant red flowers on a bloodstain. A glimpse of a foreground item lost in the background. This show focuses on how the work of Melanie Parke, Peter Shear, and Julie Alexander challenge the hierarchy of seeing by subsuming the foreground, the element-to-be-focused-on, into the background. By deemphasizing the foreground, a cultural hierarchy of value is also challenged, opening our vision up to other ways of seeing and relating.
Melanie Parke does this with flower paintings that have such a riotous background that the flowers floats on, blends into and merges with the equally vibrant background of wild pattern.
Peter Shear makes abstract shapes that hold the same plane as the background or barely lie above it. The foreground and background are jig-sawed together. They are equals.
Julie Alexander pins scraps of fabric to the wall, where foreground and background are folded into each other and where the wall itself eventually becomes the background, part of the work rather than merely its context.
The foreground/background is further challenged by an installation where each artist has one painting installed on a fabric background. The fabric background wraps and drapes the painting and, in so doing, becomes the foreground. The painting is eaten by the background. The covering of the paintings downplay the art object’s primacy within its context. The relation between the object-painting and the fabric background—deliberately muddling the boundary between foreground, background—encourages a different kind of seeing.