Artists give rise to art inspired by the timeless myth of Icaruscanvas prints
Photographer and mixed media artist Ana De Obregoso's 'The Rise and Fall,' a photograph printed on canvas, is among the 40 works in a two-person show, 'Icarus and the Myth of the Fallen Angel,' that runs at the Bendheim Gallery at the Greenwich Arts Council through Sunday, July 1, 2012. The work of painter Patricia Arnillas also will be featured at the gallery, which is located at 299 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich, Conn. Photo: Contributed Photo / CT
Not everyone's failure will be as spectacular as the one Icarus experienced when his wax wings melted in the face of the searing sun. But his tendency to overreach is an all-too-common downfall.
"He tries to go for what he wants, but he falls from his highest height," said Patricia Arnillas, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based artist whose work represents part of the "Icarus and the Myth of the Fallen Angel" exhibition on display at the Greenwich Arts Council's Bendheim Gallery. "Most cultures have a flying being ... and they always crash. It's really about the brevity of the moment of triumph. In a sense, it is a metaphor, an ephemeral moment about the human condition."
The show is inspired by the Greek myth of the young flyer who failed to heed his father's warnings as he ascended ever closer to the sun, eventually losing his wings and plummeting into the ocean below.
"The idea behind this show was to identify this classic figure as a metaphor of one of the prominent aspects of the human condition ... overreaching ambition -- trying to accomplish more than is reasonably able to be accomplished," said Paul Master-Karnik, executive director of the council.
For the past two years or so, however, Arnillas, along with her collaborator, New York City-based photographer and mixed-media artist Ana De Orbegoso, have indeed accomplished much, creating the images that make up this exhibition. It runs through July 1.
In addition to the many paintings and prints one can find throughout the gallery's two wings, and along the hallways, there is an installation in the foyer. A large, gray fountain features a wall of falling water through which a video plays. In a steady loop, hands reach out for images of dollars and material goods.
In Arnillas' work, there is a gestural quality to her abstract images, which represent a mix of light and dark. Seas of brown waves meet skies of cream and grey as an abstract Icarus works across the board, often only visible through an outline of his wings.canvas prints
De Orbegoso's Icarus is more figurative -- often shown in an interplay between light and dark.
Both artists said the story of the fallen hero certainly is inspirational. There was the idea of taking risks, along with the idea of striving to achieve one's aspirations -- large and small.
"The imagery that came out of the idea of Icarus is very rich in visual content and concept," wrote De Orbegoso in an email. "It applies to different aspects of human life, inviting the viewer to a soul-searching journey."
The two artists are based in the United States, but have ties to their native Peru.
Arnillas' work has been seen throughout the world, including the 2011 Florence Biennial. In 2008, she founded Contraposto Art Studio, a New York City-based decorative painting firm and artist space that cites some top architectural firms among its clients.
Arnillas has known De Orbegoso for more than 20 years, valuing her artistic expertise and input. De Orbegoso also appreciates the give-and-take. "You have your own good ideas, but when you exchange with somebody else's ideas you can create a great idea," she said. "Working in collaboration with Patricia has definitely opened my horizon."cheap canvas art
The two also are involved in the Me Thinks Creative Group, an artists' collaborative they formed.
Curated by Tatiana Mori, "Icarus and the Myth of the Fallen Angel" features works that vary in scale, from large panels and wall hangings to a six-inch square series. There is a small video projection, too, "Icarus 1959-1992," which features the person to whom Arnillas has dedicated the exhibition.
The label on the wall reads: "For my brother Manuel, who tried his wings." Manuel died in 1992 at the age of 32.
"He always would take a risk," Arnillas said. "For me, the myth has to do with my personal perception."
However, she said she and De Orbegoso realize that this is the kind of tale that can resonate with anyone.
"I am fond on Greek mythology," De Orbegoso wrote. "As a kid, I used to read these stories in the seclusion of my room asking not to be disturbed. It appears in my work now and then, but Patricia is completely passionate about it."
Both artists said they see their distinct, yet collaborative, pieces as parts of a conversation, a kind of flow that provides for different expressions, visually and conceptually. In fact, the two artists often echoed one another's words when talking about the show. For instance, they both noted that there is great freedom in the way someone can interpret the story of a fallen angel.
"It really invites the viewer in for a soul-searching journey," Arnillas said.
"For me, I really tried to focus on the moment of takeoff. Not the fall, but the rise," she said. "It's about that moment of reaching. It's not just about Icarus, but about all of us, about all of our daily aspirations."cheap canvas prints
Greenwich Arts Council Bendheim Gallery, 299 Greenwich Ave., Greenwich. "Icarus and the Myth of the Fallen Angel" runs through Sunday, July 1. Gallery hours: Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday to Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Free.