Violence and Other Contradictions

by sgarzon


The exhibition “Show some Emotion” by Sacramento artist Gale Hart is quite the rare experience in a town like this. Having spoken to the artist through an informal conversation I was struck with a very strong yet sensitive and conscientious personality. The exhibition is a clear reflection of her character. The art is strong in nature, activist and denouncing of human’s apathy and indifference to life in general. The artist addressed 3 mains topics: Animal mistreatment, female coercion and gun control, all reflecting upon different levels of violence nurtured by human beings.

Her play of words and the sarcastic remarks made to the idea of “apathy” that inspired the titled of the exhibition “Show some Emotion” is by far the first of many things that makes the show such an incredible experience. The mixtures of mediums that are used for the exhibition reveal the profound inconformity that the artist feels in regards to the subjects being discussed, most specifically about animal injustice. Paint, canvas, wood, metal, popular culture and subculture – they all help elucidate the contradictions that Gale finds so incomprehensible in human behavior.  The indifference and inconsistencies with the things we value, and the things we need.

My favorite piece was no doubt the installation of the barn. The artist re-creates for the viewers the experience of murder, which ironically is unfamiliar to most people, although we are all guilty of it through passive participation. The objectification of animals and sometime women are the ways in which people commonly detach themselves from guilt and responsibility. The pulling of the ledger brings up a sign that reads: “OW” symbolizing the killing of an animal and making the participant directly accountable for the harm.

Although, I personally admire the messages and activism that Gale is trying to communicate through her work, I felt the exhibition was a little too charged with too much content. I was not, at any point, overwhelmed, if anything it was truly refreshing to see an exhibition creating awareness about real issues. However, I would have liked to see the artist concentrate in one topic at the time and reach more depth in individual exhibitions as opposed to presenting them altogether. Not knowing her intention I assumed at first, by a stretch of my imagination that all works had to do with animal mal-treatment, which was undoubtedly the main topic of the show. However, after being informed by the artist-talk I was able to comprehend fully the variety of injustices that she was trying to denounce. They all made very interesting points and it really made me think again about the things I stand for and the actions that I take to support them.