Greenpoint Artist: David Pettibone Opening 9/20
Darkened, apocalyptic skies loom over dramatic and desolate landscapes, while human figures, hooded and covered from head to toe in bleach white, toil among scores of mysterious boxes. Something massive is most definitely amiss. The tone of David Pettibone’s paintings is unmistakable; distress and destruction seep off his formidable canvases.
Check out David’s work and that of his studiomate, Allison Maletz (featured here) at Interdependent, this Thursday, September 20th from 7 – 9pm at YASHAR Gallery, located at 276 Greenpoint Ave (between Newel and Jewel), curated by Elizabeth Lamb.
The subject of his latest series, the misdeeds and poor practices of the beekeeping industry, is not as immediately apparently as the dark mood. Once this contextual layer is applied, however, the paintings conjure a variety of questions about how we manage, or mismanage, our natural world and the creatures within it. Pettibone’s fascination with the practices of the beekeeping industry prompted him to explore and depict how this industry manipulates this critical insect population. The large scale of his pieces reflect the magnitude of the problem.
Pettibone is clear, however, that he is not interested in a pedantic approach. He presents his perspective of current problems such as colony collapse disorder (CCD) and American foulbrood, with a hypnotic color palate. The workers in his paintings are often dehumanized, their faces obscured and clad in identical outfits. They are engaged in relentless, hard work; in this way the human subjects in the paintings become much like bees themselves, however notably distinct in their apparent lack of regard for their environment.
In spite of this cool remove, or maybe due to it, the pieces incite a desire to connect, to find some warmth. Learning that these scenes are in fact relatively realistic incites anger and frustration. This sense may be spurred by the startling juxtaposition of the naturally beautiful landscapes and the utter destruction taking place within them. This tension makes it hard to turn away from the foreboding scenes; there is a kind of inherent invitation to join the organized madness or perhaps be present to object to the pervasive insanity. In our conversation, Pettibone noted this tension and described how his interest in the ambiguity of the identity of the invader, with “people in a natural environment, but they look alien.”
Finding his way to the subject of beekeeping through a striking painting entitled “Karl and the Honey Bears,” Pettibone researched the industry and studied its process and practices to gain a deeper understanding of his focus. This commitment is evident in his pieces and in his ability to describe the work and issues plaguing this ailing aspect of our agricultural landscape.
Contemplate our dismal future! Revel in the glory of art while we are still here! Check out David’s work and that of his studiomate, Allison Maletz (featured here) at Interdependent, this Thursday, September 20th from 7 – 9pm at YASHAR Gallery, located at 276 Greenpoint Ave (between Newel and Jewel), curated by Elizabeth Lamb.