The Green Gallery is pleased to announce Victoire Thierrée Chasseur-cueilleur. This will be the artist’s first American exhibition. Chasseur-cueilleur translates to “hunter-gather,” laying a metaphorical thematic for the works on view. Thierrée explores how histories of hunting, gathering and camouflage influence our understanding of the present; albeit on socio-political terms. As in much of Thierrée’s oeuvre, qualities of attraction and repulsion are demonstrated. The slickness of a surface or decorative whimsy of an object, butt up against a harsher reality from which it is derived.
Thierrée’s masks offer broad insight within Chasseur-cueilleur. Historically, these objects might be used to disappear into the landscape, allowing opportunity to attack or defend, against prey or foe. Thierrée takes this logic further. Here fractured pieces of metal are welded together, revealing both their internal structure, support apparatus and wall beneath. Although the contour of the masks relate to the face, the objects feature no openings for eyes or other orifices. These masks relate to the body byway of armor. Their form also seems to point elsewhere, particularly toward modern military aircrafts or other vehicles of war. The artist uses this form and material to point us toward crises near and far.
The exhibition also features a series of herbarium photographs printed on a risograph. These images were discovered during Thierrée’s recent research at the Smithsonian’s archives. The original photographs were taken on the Japanese island of Okinawa in 1951, following WWII. Although the images may reveal decorative tendencies in light of more current design tropes, their context points to a darker past. The photographs direct us toward metaphors of colonization; the gesture of uprooting something (the plant) and forcefully strapping it down (via tape in the image) for clinical examination and storage purposes. We witness a deeper violence in the desire to categorize, learn and order, the Other or unknown.
Thierrée gestures in a tongue and cheek manner via her vinyl prints. The printed drawings were appropriated from the National Archives’ 1943 copy of the War Department’s Technical Manual: Emergency Food Plants and Poisonous Plants of the Islands of the Pacific. Rendered by lead botanist of the 1951 Okinawa expedition, E. Walker (1899-1991), the images and text offer survivalist solutions while attempting to inhabit a territory that is not your own. Thierrée rescales these drawings in a playful manner and activates the architecture of the gallery. Outside spectators can visually converse with the image displayed in the window. Visitors inside are able to examine and walk upon the floor work.
Although research for these projects spans a broader duration of time and location; production of these works is a direct result of Thierrée’s interaction with the local Milwaukee community. The art objects were made onsite finding solutions to material and pictorial problems that emerged in the making.
Please join us for the opening reception with the artist from 5 - 7pm on Saturday, May 27th, at The Green Gallery West 830 E. Chambers St.