For the final show in their Chelsea location, the Andrew Edlin Gallery invited a strong roster of artists to create new mural works directly on their walls. The central theme of the exhibition titled Anthems for the Mother Earth Goddess is the environment, and each artist takes on this theme in a uniquely profound way, be it spiritually, politically, scientifically or emotionally. Just as the cycle of nature is ephemeral, so too are the works in this show. They will be demolished along with the building sometime in the near future.
While the show as a whole is a treat to experience, two particular works struck me with profound intensity. They are by Kevin Blythe Sampson and Brian Adams Douglas.
Sampson’s expressionistic tree bleeds out from the poisonous doctrines that have tainted civilization. The names of places where national injustice have occurred are scratched into the bark. The mangled roots, which form the word “MIASMA” bleed into the Earth and spreading foul poison throughout the land. Hooded Klansmen, at the base of the tree represent catastrophic ideas like the Keystone pipeline and fracking, as well as the GMO corporation Monsanto and the Republican National Convention (which supports these aforementioned problematic environmental issues). The tree is tapped by problems that drain our society of justice and peace. A poached Rhino (with it’s horns cut off and black human feet) reminds us that we are an endangered species as well.
Brian Adam Douglas’ epic realist mural is the most dramatic in the show. It’s an end of days theme where nature has taken back the Earth through a biblical flood that would rival Noah’s. There’s a huddled mass, piled on top of each other in the form of a pyramid. They are seemingly the last survivors of the catastrophic storm. One barren tree is still standing tall from the flood waters. It is held afloat by a life preserver.
The rest of the must see murals are by Saya Woolfalk, Chris Doyle, Peter Fend, Rigo 23, and Katerina Lanfranco.
So while you’re walking along the adjacent Highline experiencing one of the more positive ways in which we can interact with and preserve our natural environment; don’t miss this show where the anthems to Mother Earth will get stuck in your head for days.