April 6, 2017 by: Natalie Fleming
Rock: Millie Chen, Warren Quigley
El Museo, 91 Allen Street, Buffalo, NY
April 7–29, 2017
Opening reception: Friday, April 7, 2017, 7–9pm (artist talks at 7:15)
Gallery hours: Wednesdays–Saturdays 12–6pm and by appointment
Rock is cosmic, ancient and perpetual. Rock is hard. Rock endures through human pain and suffering. Rock is matter-of-fact, down-to-Earth, irrefutable.
Their exploratory dialogue on these thoughts led Department of Art Professors Warren Quigley and Millie Chen to generate new works for El Museo. They pair an objectively factual approach with our tendency toward fear. Our understanding of the universe is limited by anthropocentrism; as we gain more knowledge about the universe in our effort to better control our condition within it, awareness of our vulnerability only grows.
Quigley investigates the unknown in its capacity to be simultaneously threatening and humorous. Via objects and relief works, he calmly contemplates the number of ways that life on Earth can cease to exist, impacts from near-Earth objects like asteroids being one. It’s a matter of countdown to the next occurrence—not if but when.
Chen’s series of drawings continues a trajectory of recent work that juxtaposes landscapes and interiors with disturbing events that occurred in those places. Focusing on the troubling social history that humans are accustomed to causing on Earth, she pairs the “discovery” of the seven other planets of our Solar System with appalling events that happened at the same time on our home planet.