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Cosgrove and Costache
Mount St. Mary's College, José Druis-Biada Gallery, Los Angeles, California
Recommendation by Jeanne Willette

Erin Cosgrove, ''What Manner of Person Art Thou?'' (detail), 2012.


Continuing through October 20, 2012


Concurrent shows from Erin Cosgrove and Cris Costache are particularly timely. The two veteran artists give a simultaneous test of Biblical and political knowledge and demand that the viewer grant time and attention to their unusually complex art. Both artists meditate upon the state of the world with the sardonic despair of disappointed idealists. Cosgrove, a gifted animator and conceptual artist, presents "What Manner of Person Art Thou?" featuring the (mis)adventures of  “Elijah Yoder and Enoch Troyer,” Amish-types who wander through Biblical terrains. Cosgrove tells the tale of this pair of Zeligs in two ways. She visually quotes the Bayeaux Tapestry, as the ground for her version of Genesis. These first books of the Bible are invaded by the time travelers who participate in a continuous narrative on a long stretch of linen depicting the Fall of Man. Cosgrove’s second version of Genesis, an animated tale of America as the Garden of Eden despoiled, shows our heroes and their foes acting out the Fall of America. 


A modern day Giotto, Costache also takes up this theme of America gone awry with his version of "The Life of Christ." This artist reminds us that human history began in the Middle East. A long series of single framed illustrations, each shaped like an iPad screen, presents his version of history since 9/11 with Bush administration figures playing the parts of the hallowed figures of the New Testament. Imagine Colin Powell as the Angel Gabriel who announces to the Virgin Mary, played by Condelezza Rice, that she is with child. And then imagine George W. Bush as Christ or “Susej.” To see Martha Stewart as Mary Magdalene and add players in the misbegotten Bush Administration gamboling throughout Mesopotamia, meeting up with Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein is to know that in the end, once again, the promise of a modern day Eden (America) will be betrayed. Costache, a self-described Luddite, “prints” with found newspaper images xeroxed on colored papers, juxtaposed with his own expressive drawings of the chosen actors. The result of this painstaking collage process is a clash of civilizations of a different kind - the iPhone generation meets the Xerox generation - and a sardonic reminder that these stories of conflict in the Middle East are still with us today.


Published courtesy of ArtSceneCal ©2012

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