Morbid Curiosity: Works by Ronald Gonzalez and Sally Thomas
January 19 – March 9/ 2001
At some level all of us are curious about our inevitable mortality. But most of us probe the topic fearfully, with hesitation and distress. For Ronald Gonzalez and Sally Thomas, however, the terrifying fragility of the body is a rich and challenging topic. Their overlapping concerns and starkly distinct visual effect of their work make a provocative juxtaposition. Their work can be classified as installation, however, other labels such as, environments, mixed media or assemblage could just as easily apply. In Gonzalez’s piece “Catacomb,” materials such as animal bone, plaster, teeth and wire are used to create an army of figures that appear to be of this world, but struggling for the next. Thomas’, approach to the installation format is strikingly different, the scale here is diminutive and the materials are the detritus that most of us discard. The parts create the whole, they range from birds created out of wire and wrapped in recycled plastic bags to small creatures made out of fabric, thread, beads and buttons. Thomas also incorporates and arranges mixed media works on paper in her installation, and like her wrapped bound creatures the drawings are a mixture of found objects, with images drawn or collaged. Where Gonzalez’s work is massive and confrontational works, Thomas’ installation “Of Another World” quietly screams and becomes a visual statement that is engaging and yet disarming as one takes in the detail of the individual pieces that are packed with emotional content.