Christa Schuebbe Galerie – 2005
Essay by Michael Baumgart
For me, this was; among all the marvels that I discovered in nature, the most marvelous of all, and I must say, that for my part, no more pleasant sight has met my eye than this, of so many thousand living creatures in one small drop of water.
– Antonie van LEEUWENHOEK
I Dream of Jeannie Emerging From A Fresca Bottle inverts American idealism & optimism. As you may be aware, I Dream of Jeannie was launched as a television series in which an astronaut discovers a mysterious bottle containing a beautiful female genie. Eager to have him as her new master she becomes his servant.
Male stalkers are known to have the potential to turn violent toward their fixation while female stalkers will turn their violence inward, frequently turning to the bottle. Fresca is marketed as a calorie-free, grapefruit-flavored soft drink aimed at consumers particular about their physical shape & beauty.Warning: Grapefruit is proven to accelerate the affect of medications on the body, birth control included. Fresca is a rarity for a beverage introduced by the Coca-Cola Corporation; it does not have a Pepsi equivalent. Making Fresca appear at once marginalized & dangerous.
Carla GANNIS creates a complex archeology & architecture of visionary imagery which does not conform to control & easy categorization. Her innovative digital paintings, drawings & installations explore a multiplicity of episodes composed of memory, mythology & the corruption of reality.
Throughout GANNIS’ digital paintings portrayals of a rampant military-industrial complex, genetically altered species as well as cultural & gender stereotypes are interwoven into fantastic tableau. Art such as Endangered Species, Field Tests, Frenzyland, Fat Cats & Overkill deflate sentimental or nostalgic perceptions of American reality. Dystopia is a constant threat to any technologically accelerating society. Yard of the Month & Genesis delve into issues of an idealization of gender roles & cultural stereotypes dominating the imagination. While tautology reigns, fitting in & conforming have become aesthetic criteria. In Garden of Eden the streets of America are paved with dreams, not gold. In the crucible of the American experience dreams melt easily into darker material. Meanwhile, Orpheus and Eurydiceappear to assert that the end of a couple is the end of the world. By inserting representations of herself inside many of her art works GANNIS expresses the embodiment & conflict of abnegation & power. As a supernatural female constantly requested to keep her powers “in check”, Jeannie was frequently required to stay in her bottle. Through ingenuity & persistence she always found a way to subvert the wishes of her master. By keeping power “in check” there exists the potential for creative & intelligent responses to overcome threats of deprivation, oppression & terror. Uncontrolled power contributes to the erosion & destruction of humanity. GANNIS’art is a warning that the respect for humanity is being lost & something must be done. Cool the tempest & accomplish the mission, motivate inspiration, our wits & fortitude will keep us safe.