A stellar new exhibit opens today: "A Complicated Dominion: Nature and New Political Narratives." It takes "natural vs. unnatural" as its theme, and it includes some searching, some angry, and some hilarious responses to the enormity of human effects on the planet. A lot of the painting and sculpture is in the form of mutation, as with Tara Tucker's animals who grow plants on their backs, although Portland's Leiv Fagereng takes a frightening, sexy, escape-from-suburbia approach instead. For us, the show is largely a chance to see Tiffany Bozic's stuff again: This Oaklander spent a whole year studying the sea life at the California Academy of Sciences, and the result is a series that makes it look like the whole ocean's on LSD. Spines and globs and scales are trippy enough already, right? But Bozic pushes them into symmetry and unlikely friendships. The reality is that we're seeing a creative mind overstuffed with scientific information a rare happening and it cracks open a new comprehension of "nature," a fresh cold one for any viewer.
A conversation with Tiffany Bozic and John P. Dumbacher, Curator of Birds & Mammals at the California Academy of Sciences is July 23 at noon.
June 12-Aug. 16, 2008