04/27/2007 - 05/27/2007
14.27.07 – 15.27.07Carl Baratta and Tsherin Sherpa
Show opens on Friday April 27th, from 7 – 10pmLive Jazz performed by Celia Whiren and Ryan Meisel
Is there a responsibility to preserve and protect international history? Is one similarly responsible for the various modes of appropriation that, while furthering one dialogue, might destroy its origins? If we are encouraged to promote and preserve the past, how does one preserve tradition for its own sake, retaining and propagating its’ original potency as a contemporary object, rather than fetishizing its’ historical stature? In a global community, various national aesthetics are constantly being re-appropriated and re-contextualized. In<i> Culture Mutt</i>, two geographically disparate artists are presented side by side in order to explore a portrait of global influence. American painter Carl Baratta and Tibetan Thangka painter Tsherin Sherpa, display distince but related voices, articulating a visual bridge as a metaphor for our cultural climate, where the migration of culture is an endless force of international awareness, celebration and destruction.
Baratta grew up in Philadelphia and completed his formal education with an MFA at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute. Applying a pastiche of Asian motifs borrowed from video games and flat decorative landscapes, Baratta personalizes these formal elements, making them relevan to his own context. Baratta has the freedom to employ foreign tropes and incorporate them in his voice. He is not bout by the traditions he adopts. His tradition is entrenched in destruction and reconstruction; he is bound to break rules and rebuild new surfaces with scraps discovered in the rubble. Baratta’s approach is far from the ancient tradition of Tibetan Thangkas. The ornate and laborious sophistication of Thangka painting comes from hours of quiet workl paints are ground by hand and mixed with yak glue, and the picture-field is comprised of an infinite many minute dots, like hand-drawn pixels. Tsherin Sherpa will hand his work beside Baratta’s; although born in Tibet, Sherpa grew up in exile in Nepal apprenticing with his father as a painter. The direct descent of knowledge is an effort to preserve a tradition that is threatened by the development of the world. It is important to consider the non-historic implications of this tradition, a style of working that seems incongruous with the contemporary media-driven world. It is steady, ornate and non-disposable.
These two artists have distinct motivations: on the one hand, Sherpa wants to preserve his Eastern tradition, while on the other hand Baratta wants to stand out in the Western one. While Baratta’s work might be more accessible to the contemporary audience, his hand belies an unsophisticated mark. There is a pleasure to be gleaned in the tension of these two hands, indicative as it is, of the greater condition of the shrinking world.