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Wonderland

A compassionate and vivid show of work by
Lydia Badger, Lucinda Bliss, and Patricia Brace
opens at Whitney Art Works on March 4, 2009.

Displayed is the evidence of an intimate urge to protect, render and hold dear what seems endangered. Lucinda Bliss's bright, delicate, and strange renderings of fragile animals and the haunted naturalism of Lydia Badger suggest an alternative relationship to the animal world. The bold undulations of Patricia Brace's dimensional, quilt-like pieces are the armature for a subtle emotional fragility that shimmers through the surface of graphic repetition.
Channeling both the formal elements of design, the domestic intimacy of fabric and the tedium inherent in each, Brace interrupts striking patterns and offsets layered matrices enveloping the viewer in a shifting conversation between the intimate and the brash. About her own work she says "Fabric has an intimate relationship with our body, its patterns are the routine within daily life and life's residue is collected in its weave...a collection of our reflexive and chosen actions that recounts our memories, fantasies, and desires."

Lydia Badger's quirky drawings and sculptures of animals in their co-existence with the human world are at once unsettling and adorable. She renders her subjects with an expressive delicacy that is well suited to the wild versus domestic themes in her work. Animals and structures etch out a minimal sort of space, their relationship ambiguous but tense. Highlighting the differences between humans and animals in relation to the environment, Badger writes,"we act upon it, while animals act within it."
With occasional tenderness alongside intentional roughness, these critters rest and writhe with an odd presence. Both familiar and peculiar, as if they were imagined by the compassionate but guilty mind of little Alice herself.

Lucinda Bliss writes..."My current work began with a dream in which I was visiting a hospital where my mother was working as poet-in-residence. In the dream, I scanned the overflowing waiting room and noticed injured animals waiting alongside humans. This dream provided a visual starting place for drawings in which I'm interested in reconsidering monumental, wondering whether it might be applied to delicate, representational work and asking how a playful, even beautiful, visual language can speak to serious matters."
Indeed Blissís works seem pregnant with a sense of inflicted, underlying drama, yet they also flirt happily with our inner child. A forceful blood-red, snowy spaces, and collage elements are tempered by the dreamy meanderings of the imagery and the unsettling innocence of the animal inhabitants. The works themselves serve as metaphors for the act of healing, of reconciling the unnatural and the natural, the pure and the tainted, and the sweet and the strange.

Works by Lydia Badger, Lucinda Bliss & Patricia Brace will be on view from March 4th to March 28th, with an opening reception on
First Friday, March 6th from 5-8pm.
Gallery hours are Wed-Sat 12-6 pm or by appointment.

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