MIYAKO YOSHINAGA presents a new solo exhibition, Silent Spring by Dominique Paul (b.1967), a Canadian artist based in Montréal and New York. This is the artist’s third solo exhibition and her first presentation at the gallery’s Upper East Side location. The exhibition will run from September 25 to November 21, 2020. The gallery hours are from Wednesday through Saturday, 11am – 6pm.
Rachel Carson’s 1962 prophetic essay Silent Spring was critical in the banning of DDT. Today we find ourselves witnessing the steep decline in the species of insects and birds that Carson predicted over 60 years ago. In 2011, in response to the inexorable and seemingly irreversible human intrusion into nature, Dominique Paul began her ongoing series of surrealistic collages in which she juxtaposes human body parts from contemporary sources with early 18th century botanical illustrations from “Insects of Surinam” by Maria. S. Merian (1647-1717). These illustrations are known for being the first such documentation of insect metamorphoses in their habitats. Once the collages are set, Paul photographs the whole, thus forging the two different eras into a fascinating and somewhat unsettling composite.
In Paul’s series bearing the same title as Merian’s illustrations, as humans become an invasive species, they cause plants to evolve into grotesque hybrid forms. The exhibition highlights two bas-relief trees in which Paul uses laser-cut acrylic exoskeletons to emphasize the symbiotic relationship between the human element and nature. For example, in Insects of Surinam 35 (2019), these trees appear to reject and shed superfluous luxury products such as handbags, jewelry and watches –symbolizing the little time we have left before our natural resources are exploited to extinction in the service of consumer greed.