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Blair Brings “The Unavowable Taxonomy” to the Talley Gallery

Andy Ellis | A&E Editor | 11-03-2011

Gregory Blair brought his exhibit, The Unavowable Taxonomy, to BSU’s Talley Gallery on October 17th.  The reason for the title is, Blair said, that we use classification to describe the natural world.  He got the title from French philosopher Maurice Blanchot’s “The Unavowable Community,” and he replaced one of the words to fit his exhibition.

According to his artist statement seen in the gallery, “By blending nature with imagery and ideas from other fields such as capitalism, new media, material culture, ecology, mass media, and aspects of urbanity, my hope is to create artwork that functions both as a cultural critique and a source of wry humor.”  The exhibit showcases 12 pieces.

Gregory provided a commentary on two of the pieces in the exhibit, “tutela obviam bestia” and “The Dream of Something Better,” via e-mail.
The “tutela obviam bestia,” he said, is actually Latin for “protection from animals.”  The piece is made from whistles, bear spray, velvet, pine, found objects, deer whistles, and mousetraps.  Here is an explanation of the piece in his own words via e-mail: “This is from a series of works that were based upon the forms and concepts of reliquaries.” He adds, “I have created a series of reliquaries that are meant to provide us from protection from various aspects of the natural.  This piece in particular is constructed as a protective shrine or reliquary against animals using products from the local hardware store.”
The second piece he commented on was “The Dream of Something Better.”  He said that it’s a “sarcastic commentary on our relationship with nature.”  The piece is made from pine, maple, and string with pearl resting inside it.  When describing the piece he said, “The natural world provides us with an amazing array of materials but within a hyper-consumerist culture, there is always a dream of something better.  With this in mind, I created a large clam shell with a pearl resting in its interior.”  He went on to say that, when you look closer, the pearl turns out to be a bomb.
“What would be better than an object used for decoration and jewelry? Some sort of military weapon. The bomb form also has echoes of the sort seen in old Looney Toon cartoons, which I hope adds to the wry humor of the piece,”  he said.
Other pieces in the exhibit include “An Uncanny Engagement,” “It’s Only a Matter of Time,” “Deadly Ground,” and “Message from Mother Nature,” which is one of the crowd favorites.
The exhibit is open to the public through November 11th, and is free of cost.