Curators will give talk on Feb. 6.
Mercury Retrograde: Animated Realities, a selection of animated videos by international artists, opens Jan. 28 and runs through March 9 in the Williams Center Gallery of Lafayette College.
The exhibit is free and open to the public and features animations by Brian Alfred, Karina Aguilera Skvirsky, Aline Bouvy & John Gillis, eteam, Cliff Evans, Jan Nalevka, and Noah Spidermen & Scott Gelber.
The exhibition takes its title from an optical illusion referred to as Mercury retrograde: Three or four times a year the planet Mercury appears to move backward in its orbit when seen from Earth.
The next time Mercury goes retrograde is Feb. 6 and exhibit curators William Heath and Zeljka Himbele will give a talk that day at 4:10 p.m. in room 108 of the Williams Center for the Arts. The public is invited to attend. A reception follows.
In popular astrology, Mercury retrograde marks intense periods when things go awry, signaling the need for reflection and revision of our lives. This is a time for veering away from the past and taking cautious steps forward. Mercury’s cycle, it has been speculated, is the cause of major course corrections for society; it gives us a chance to grow as humans, to raise critical awareness, and possibly make a movement toward radical change.
Appropriating popular culture images from television, film, web, newspaper, tabloid, and fashion magazines, the artists in the exhibition manipulate source materials with a variety of aesthetic approaches and montage techniques that offer reflections upon our mass media-saturated cultures and uncertain future. The materiality of animation allows for flattening, collaging, reduction, and abstraction of the appropriated material that at once enables the absurdity of contemporary life to stand more singularly and clearly. The works collectively vibrate with an omnipresent feeling of anxiety, a kind of nervous energy that demands we consider the current paths and policies that have been chosen for us. The works grapple with complex topics surrounding the culture of spectacle, excesses of consumption, economic and power relations in the era of globalization and interconnectedness, and reveal the artists’ simultaneous fascination with and critique of our culture, society, and politics.
The gallery in the Williams Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania, 317 Hamilton Street. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The Lafayette College Art Galleries and EPI receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.