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Rodney Dickson- Love at it's Best

Rodney Dickson- Love at it's Best
Gasser & Grunert Gallery

148 Ninth Avenue, at the Northeastern corner with 19th Street.
Tuesday, January 8th – Saturday, February 9th 2008
Opening Reception January 8, 6.00PM - 8PM

Hi Thing:

If you are free this tuesday and are in New York we recommend stopping by Rodney's first solo exhibition with Gasser & Grunert Gallery in Chelsea. Love at it's Best a multi-media installation, is a culmination of many years work and research. Those of you may know his work through his performance installation The Queen Bee Snake Bar and his more recent Queen Bee War Remnants Museum that premiered as a featured special project at Art|Basel Miami Beach. His work is very strong and engages in an honest and informed social dialogue about War that you dont get to see everyday, especially in Chelsea.

This exhibition is sure to inspire others to become more socio-politically concerned and to make more art with meaning in these days of an overly commercialized artworld and big brothers clones knocking at our doors. Show is up through February 9th.

Love at It's Best is an analysis of warfare, sexual exploitation and genocide, which aims to shed light on the plight of the civilians whose lives have been tainted by these brutal realities.

While Rodney Dickson specifically references Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, World War 1 and 2, as well as conflicts in his native Northern Ireland, he intends for these pieces to be universal commentaries on current global events. The ongoing war in Iraq poignantly underlies all of the work displayed, as Primaries for the 2008 US Presidential Election began just days before the exhibition opens.

The exhibition will feature six large scale paintings from Dickson’s series Kill ‘em all and let Buddha sort ‘em out. The paintings are predominantly white surfaces with imagery and text-related to the above mentioned wars. They are layered over several months time as Dickson creates and destroys, so the paintings building up over time and have a history as objects. Dickson applies a number of media onto the surfaces and collages additional elements on as well, some of these steps will remain, some will be removed, some obscured or altered as Dickson works. Dickson has stated “These are not pristine works of art; these are not pampered lifeless works. I am not trying to show how clever I am at manipulating paint nor am I trying to show how well I can draw. I want to create an object that has a life of its own and exists in the real world. I use War as a subject, this is partly because of growing up in Northern Ireland during 'The Troubles' and partly because I see it as the worst human tragedy of our time.”

The exhibition will also include a version of Dickson’s War Remnants Museum, a series of 6 neon lights, and a group of ten floral paintings.

For Art Basel Miami Beach 2007 Rodney Dickson created a ramshackle structure that served as a ‘homemade’ museum; Dickson recreated such museums he has visited and documented in both rural locations within third-world countries, as well as within the Untied States. Now Dickson will recreate this War Remnants Museum’s collection of authentic artifacts, historic objects altered by the artists, and original works of art that recreate war remnants.

The neon lights relate to Dickson’s ongoing installations of the Queen Bee Bar, a full-scale interactive performance / installation that mimics a typical Saigon bar that American soldiers frequented during the war to find women. Enjoyable and seemingly light-hearted the installations function as an actual bar. The audience in fact follows in the footsteps of American soldiers by enjoying the bar and unwittingly creating the debris, which will be “memorialized” and left behind permanently after they go in a manner similar to US troops leaving Vietnam. The audience is creating the art of the aftermath. In this exhibition, six neon signs will reference the locations around the world where this bar has been created.

Since 1992 Rodney Dickson has researched and exhibited work related to his interest in Vietnam and Cambodia. There he witnessed the aftermath of conflict in its indiscriminately brutal form: it is from this point that Dickson’s work proceeds. This will be his first exhibition at Klemens Gasser & Tanja Grunert, Inc.

Mike Hendershot, 2nd Battalion, 12th Marines 1966, 67, 68, DMZ, Vietnam:

“you know basically War is Hell.... water..only warm blood and
congealed blood..... that smells sort of like raw fish... noise at
any moment...trauma...concussion...flying thru the air to a hard
landing........relieved your in one piece while others were not so
The old women with a beattel nut smile.... rolling up her sleeve to
reach down in a 50 gallon barrel full or bubbling fetid slop..garbage
...picking out the good pieces.........the good pieces????

I have a lot of visions.... a toddler standing at the high part of the
side of the road giving me the finger...children so hungry that the
would jump on garbage trucks before they stopped moving to get there parents.......grunts throwing food in cans and kids
piling on them..only the fittest get there in time..some times a a
Marine would throw a hand grenade off a moving truck and the kids would
pile on it thinking it was food only to be blown up.....a soldier is a
Army person....a Marine is called a Marine in war....we are the it goes etc.....That person would suffer the wrath of
God....he would be over the edge..... in hatred etc...Parents so
desperate that they would push their child in front of a moving vehicle
to certain death,,,,, to collect a sum of money from our forces... The NVA soldier who was a son or husband to the truck
rolled over his body while he lay face up.... only his head and face
were kept from the wheels and you would be next to go over him because
you were driving on a trail and there was no way to turn left or right
..that's where he fell..his face looking up at you..... as you are next
to go over him......his flattened body and his eerie, spooky look... on
his human face..his young human face...side ways lighting...rain so
thick you could only see a short distance...water flying side
ways...rats at your food when you were stuck on guard at some forward
position in a hole waiting on the dawn...your food covered by your
helmut ..only to find very small red ants... after you began to eat
it.... too stay your lips and tongue begin to
swell..... like exaggerated fish lips.....
The rotten cloth that was your uniform.....the faces caked with
dirt......waiting for the rain....then cold and wet...the vegetation so
thick that you could not see the enemy so near you...only his
particular body oder gives him away ..and like wise... your own
smell... gives you away...but you never smell yourself....ever. So many things to wite little time....I am getting older
now...and senior moments harass me with my spelling I peck
away....young my time...the world goes on