A Peaceable Kingdom
« I suppose there is something in the human form that appeals to the artistic turn of the mind more powerfully than any animal shape can. » 1
Combining painting, sculptural and video works, Scieszka explores nineteenth century American portraiture and reworks them by using conspiracy theory symbolism, contemporary consumerism iconographical elements to narrate the story of « shapeshifters ». Scieszka investigates the intersection of man and animal, civilised and wild throughout her paintings.
The exhibition title comes from Edward Hick’s « Peaceable Kingdom » series which portrays children and animals living in complete harmony, a reference to Quaker ideals. Here Scieszka has twisted this ideal while also including references to zoomorphic creations straight out of « The Island of Dr Moreau ». The paintings in this show are also inspired by other early American artists and draw inspiration from The Denison Limner, Ammi Phillips, William Matthew Prior, and Jonathan Adams Bartlett.
Old Put the clown is Scieszka’s alter ego in the video « The Coney-Catching Crucible ». This new piece is a satire of promo videos wrestlers shoot to psyche out their opponents before a match. Here Old Put is a ghost haunting Versailles while referencing «The Conspiracy of Mirrors ».
« The Phantom Menace Syndrom » is a new drama puppet performance live broadcasted from a pupper theater in Scieszka’s studio. It is the simple tale of an artist kissing their own reflection in a puddle, only to fall in and drown.