"Mechanic Nature"

Rahel Badee
Oct 15, 2014 11:37PM

When people think machinery, they immediately think of ugliness, damage, and pollution. Conversely, when people think nature, their minds immediately leap to beauty, grace, and health. Nature brings us back to the beginning; it’s safe and familiar, whereas machinery terrifies us with the fear of the unknown. This exhibition will show that machinery isn’t all bad, that it could be considered the next step in our evolution, thereby making it natural. Robert Rauschenberg foresaw this in his series “Sky Garden,” where he combined the elegance of the Florida Everglades with the mechanics of the Space Race. In doing this, he created a new form of thinking, one that protested that all machinery was evil. Instead, Rauschenberg wanted to show that not only could machinery be beautiful, it was the next step in human evolution, thereby making it natural by definition.

The exhibition, “Mechanic Nature,” will illustrate this concept through various art mediums such as sculpture and printmaking. The viewer will be able to explore machinery with fresh eyes, hopefully coming away from the experience with a new look on what it means to be natural. Their journey will be as interactive as possible. Prints, such as Rauschenberg’s “Sky Garden (Stoned Moon) 1969” and “Local Means (Stoned Moon) 1970” that are usually hung on gallery walls, will instead be hung from the ceiling on varied lengths of wire. This is crucial to the experience because machinery is three dimensional and by bringing the artwork off the walls, it invites the audience to become immersed in the mechanical world.

“Mechanic Nature” will also include several sculptures, featuring U Ram Choe’s “Arbor Deus (Tree God) 2010” and “SG 2010.” These works show the essence of the exhibition, for they feature a tree and a galaxy respectively created out of various metals and motors which were combined into beautiful, natural looking sculptures. The rest of the sculptures will follow the same idea.

By the end of this exhibition, the viewer will understand that machinery is not only beautiful, it is a part of life. It is the next step in human evolution, and it is not something to be feared. Instead, machinery should be celebrated and explored for all of the possibilities it contains, much in the same way Rauschenberg did back in 1969. 

Rahel Badee