February 1, 2008 – April 18, 2008
Jonathan Gabel, “Warsong: Iliad Cenotaphs”
Joseph Kohnke, “Marked”
Free, public reception for the artists: Friday, February 1, from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m.
|Jonathan Gabel, Echepolus|
“Warsong: Iliad Cenotaphs” comprises painted wood sculptures representing the negative space of fatal wounds suffered by warriors in Homer’s Iliad. Throughout the ancient Greek epic poem, more than 250 warriors are introduced by name only to be slaughtered on the battleground, the description of their injuries so precise that Gabel has been able to create detailed anatomical models of the flesh displaced by spears and arrows. He says, “Through the cartography of the body, the medical view of the world illuminates not only the physical properties of life, but also the intangible value of it.”
In sculpting what is literally lost during these soldiers’ deaths, Gabel asks viewers to consider what else war takes from humanity. According to the artist, “against the horror and literal disembodiment that is modern warfare, these ancient warriors offers an almost eerily serene entry-point for the contemplation of life and its violent cessation.” Gabel currently resides in Brooklyn, New York, and received his MFA from Rutgers University. For further details about Gabel and his art, please visit www.jonathangabel.com.
|Joseph Kohnke, Marked (detail)|
“Marked” consists of a faux medical device that continuously scans a conveyer belt of skin images from which Kohnke has excised every marking. Upon registering a void in the stream of images, the pneumatic mechanism triggers a light on one of two bodies, representing the marking’s original location. The pair of bodies that Kohnke employs—a human form and that of a fawn—illustrates the contrasting functions of external markings, which can signal a life-threatening illness in the one and serve as life-preserving camouflage in the other. “In nature, markings and spots on the body’s surface are used to increase the chances of survival, whereas on humans they are looked upon as flaws or the markings of death,” Kohnke says.
Inspired by a good friend’s death from melanoma, “Marked” reflects Kohnke’s meditation on the fragility of all life, whose fate can be determined by a seemingly insignificant mark. He says, “The idea that something so small and overlooked on the skin can consume your entire body both frightens and intrigues me.” A former resident of Evanston and MFA graduate of the Art and Technology program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Kohnke recently relocated to Pasadena, California. More information about Kohnke and his work is available at www.josephkohnke.com.
These exhibitions are the latest in the Museum’s “Anatomy in the Gallery” series, which has showcased medically themed contemporary art in quarterly paired exhibitions since 1998. The Museum exhibits this artwork along with thousands of historical artifacts from its permanent collection, including surgical instruments as well as a number of paintings, drawings, and sculptures, in accordance with its mission: to enrich the lives of its visitors by enhancing their appreciation and understanding of medicine. To learn more about “Anatomy in the Gallery,” please visit the program’s MySpace page.
This project is partially sponsored by a CityArts Program 2 grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.