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The Parables of Correction - 3D virtual exhibition by Catharine Clark Gallery

The Parables of Correction

Sat, 09/12/2020 to Sat, 10/24/2020

curated by:

San Francisco, CA: Catharine Clark Gallery opens its Fall 2020 program with The Parables of Correction, a solo exhibition of animations and paintings by Chris Doyle. The artist’s previous exhibition, Hollow and Swell (2017), considered the relationship between labor and industry, as well as its impacts on built and natural environments, in part as a response to Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole’s iconic five-part series The Course of Empire (1833 – 1836). Doyle’s recent work expands on these themes while offering a deeper meditation on how we relate to slowness, work, and the tensions between progress and inertia, all of which have become even more tenuous in light of Covid-19.

The artist writes that “animation is a slow, laborious process to bring life to the in-animate. Each frame corrects the one before it, and its motion builds incrementally, creating an illusion that objects and time are moving forward. With this body of work, I wanted to understand my own relationship to ‘labor’ as a driving force to create.”

The Parables of Correction is comprised of sixteen animations that transport viewers to a vibrant but phantasmagoric world where monstrous humanoids operate strange machines that produce unknown, neon-colored substances that ricochet and travel across a dense network of arteries and apertures. Doyle writes that each animation depicts a ”workstation within an imagined factory. Like organs in a body, each station has its own function that serves a larger, interconnected system”. Across these animations, viewers watch the lifespan of a material unfold as it’s manufactured by one part of a system, transported to another, transformed into energy, and eventually reduced to waste – only to be recycled and for the process to begin again.

The Technicolor factories in Doyle’s animations are comically bizarre, and the cartoonish soundtrack – which combines mechanical sounds with squeaks, boings, and gongs – evokes classic slapstick films like Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936), a film that also found an absurdist humor in labor and its pitfalls. The Parables of Correction, however, raises serious questions about sustainability and the very real costs of social, political, and economic systems that ask people “work more and harder” with no clear end in sight. In one animation, an automaton operates a machine that spits out two blue and green globes – resembling the Earth – from opposite ends. The globes draw closer until they collide and explode into pool of streaming green liquid. As the liquid drains out, the automaton engages the machine again, spitting out two more globes that yet again collide and explode in an ongoing cycle of global and implied environmental destruction.

Alternative perspectives on the world described in the animations, both macro and micro, can be seen in a new series of watercolors and enamel paintings on panel. Richly evocative in their own right, Doyle’s paintings shift the viewer’s focus to the intricate details within the animations – the nodes, tendrils, and lattices that comprise the complex environments of The Parables of Correction. A suite of enamel paintings in the show activates through augmented reality, an added layer that blurs the line between digital and analog, and machine-produced with handmade.

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