Eye on the Storm opened Friday night at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. The art is this exhibition provides a fascinating survey of the way in which twenty emerging to mid-career artists respond to the disruptive, disjointed and dismaying information age in which we live today.
Artist and writer D. Dominick Lombardi curated the show. "I've organized the works for this exhibition into three separate groups," Lombardi told the opening night audience during his 7:00 p.m. Gallery Talk. "Just like any storm, there's the calm that comes beforehand and the aftermath that follows. But the storm can manifest itself in many ways."
The artist who perhaps best summarized the way in which we can all become disjointed and fragmented as we try to weather the information storm that buffets us each day is Chambliss Giobbi. His collages, Portrait of Alice O'Malley 3 and Portrait of Fisher Stevens I drew curious and amazed stares all evening.
Gobbi is something of a stormy personality himself. He received a BFA in Music Composition from Boston University. A recipient of Guggenheim, NEA and NYFA fellowships, he composed classical music before turning to visual art.
"I'm intrigued by his approach," Lombardi noted Friday night. "His pieces provide a classic example of how dizzy we can feel as we struggle to process all the information we're bombarded with; how fragmented we feel."
In his collages, Giobbi explores the information storm's impact on the human psyche. In Portrait of Fisher Stevens I, for example, the subject sits on a plain wood chair in a room flooded by unshuttered windows and dishevelled stacks of books. The result is clear. The subject breaks into fragments as he smokes, shifts and changes posture in a vain effort to find a comfortable position, some equilibrium or balance amid the garish light of overstimulation.
"In his subjects," Lombardi notes, "the intricacies of one's personality explode, twist and reconnect in an endless dance of deconstruction," assimilation and reconstitution. "Holding it all together is a magnetic core of unflinching obsessions, hypnotic hallucinations and holistic transversals that flood this artist's unencumbered trajectory of thought."
In essence, as highly-adaptive creatures, we each find a way weather the storm and go on. "We manage it somehow," Lombardi optimistically stated, offering artworks that deliver the reassuring message that we're not alone in how strung out and discombobulated we can sometimes feel.
In addition to participating in VOLTA NY in 2010, Chambliss Giobbi has exhibited in numerous museums, including The National Portrait Gallery (D.C.), The Katonah Museum of Art, The National Academy Museum, The Islip Art Museum, and is in the permanent collection of the Museo De Bellas Artes in Santander, Spain.
Eye on the Storm runs through April 13 at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery, which is located on the Lee campus of Edison State College. For more information, please visit www.rauschenberggallery.com or telephone 239-489-9313.