CAMOUFLAGE Hiding in Plain Sight August 5–October 14, 2016 A Project of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts
Center hours & location in Ketchum: Mon–Fri 9am–5pm, Sats in Aug 11am–5pm 191 Fifth Street East, Ketchum, Idaho Center hours & location in Hailey: Thu 2–5pm, Sep 1–29 and by appointment 314 2nd Ave S., Hailey, Idaho
Cover: Thomas Bangsted, Mike, 2013, pigment print, ed. 7/8, collection of Barbara & Michael Peyser, New York, courtesy the artist and MARC STRAUS Gallery, New York Mailer: Liz Collins, Distancer-Pursuer (detail), 2013, installation with tape, acrylic paint, yarn, courtesy the artist Introduction Panels: Maurice Lisso Freedman and Navy Department, Bureau of Construction and Repair Washington, DC, Type 3 Design, I Port Side, 1918, Courtesy the Fleet Library at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island; photo credit: Erik Gould Carrie Schneider, Dazzle Camouflage (for Peter), c-print, ed. 4/5, collection of Marty & Danielle Zimmerman, courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago Inside, left to right, top to bottom: Thomas Bangsted, Panzerkreuzer, 2011-13, pigment print, ed. 3/4, courtesy the artist and MARC STRAUS Gallery, New York Stuart Elster, In Dazzle Blue #5, 2015, oil on canvas, courtesy the artist and Junior Projects, New York
Sun Valley Center for the Arts P.O. Box 656, Sun Valley, ID 83353 208.726.9491 • sunvalleycenter.org
Stephanie Syjuco, Cover-up from the series Cargo Cults, 2016, archival Epson pigment print, courtesy the artist and Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco Liz Collins, Electricity, 2015, installation of works on paper, tape collages, screen prints, paintings, courtesy the artist Angela Tsai, Destroyer, 2013, ink on paper, courtesy the artist
CAMOUFLAGE Hiding in Plain Sight
War has long served as a driver for innovation. This was particularly true during World War I, which saw the introduction of tanks, poison gas and unrestricted submarine warfare. It was this last development, pursued largely by the German Navy through largescale U-boat attacks on military and merchant ships alike, that drove the invention of Dazzle Camouflage. Dazzle
united military technology and visual art in an attempt to protect British and American ships. This exhibition features original dazzle camouflage diagrams from the archives of the Fleet Library at RISD alongside artwork by five contemporary artists considering dazzle and its history: Thomas Bangsted, Liz Collins, Stuart Elster, Carrie Schneider and Stephanie Syjuco.
CAMOUFLAGE Hiding in Plain Sight August 5–October 14, 2016 A Project of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts E x hibition, Ke tchum Dazzle camouflage, often called “razzle dazzle” in the United States, was a system of high-contrast geometric patterning applied to ships as disruptive camouflage. Unlike most camouflage, dazzle was not meant to conceal or hide ships from view through enemy periscopes. Rather, dazzle was intended to confuse the eye, making it difficult to ascertain a ship’s direction, speed or size, and therefore challenging to accurately hit it with a torpedo. The invention of dazzle is largely credited to British marine artist Norman Wilkinson. Wilkinson was put in charge of a unit of camoufleurs, including the Vorticist painter Edward Wadsworth and numerous other artists, both men and women, who designed unique patterns for more than 4,000 merchant ships and 400 naval ships. Made at a time when artists working in various modernist styles—Cubism, Futurism, Vorticism, Suprematism—were all experimenting with sophisticated compositions based on geometric planes of color, the ships appeared to be the product of an extremely avant-garde sensibility and resembled enormous works of modernist art. Among those responsible for dazzle camouflage in the United States was Maurice L. Freedman, camoufleur for the 4th District of the U.S. Shipping Board, Emergency Fleet Corporation. Freedman received dazzle plans from the Navy, adjusted or revised them, and hired painters to apply them to ships. Following the war, he attended RISD and later donated 455 dazzle plans along with photographs and other ephemera to RISD’s Fleet Library. Using a selection of dazzle plans from Freedman’s archive at RISD, as well as work by five contemporary artists, this exhibition considers a unique moment in military history. Thomas Bangsted has made a series of meticulously crafted photographs of ships featuring dazzle patterns. Bangsted documented ships still remaining from the naval fleets of World War I and World War II. He then photographed and restored them to their earlier dazzled state by recreating original patterns he tracked down in archives. Two of the photographs feature Mike, a Michigan boat builder who makes rowboats using techniques dating to the beginning of the 20th century.
Fiber artist Liz Collins is designing a dazzle room for the exhibition, featuring wallpaper, textiles, framed pieces and a dazzle rug. She was drawn to dazzle camouflage after reading Lynda Barry’s novel Cruddy, in which a character dresses in a “cacophony of bad prints” to try to erase herself from the gaze of others. Collins writes, “I love that idea because it doesn’t really work. So there’s something that is about getting the viewer’s attention in a brash offensive way, and seducing them at the same time through vibrational hypnosis.”
Fri, Sep 2, 5–7pm FREE at The Center, Ketchum Start your Gallery Walk at The Center!
Evening Exhibition Tours
Thu, Aug 25 & Sep 15, 5:30pm FREE at The Center, Ketchum Enjoy a guided tour of the exhibition with The Center’s curators and gallery guides.
Stuart Elster’s thickly painted images of dazzle ships illuminate dazzle’s historic connection to modernist paintings. A single color dominates each image, so that water, sky and patterned ship are all very close in hue, inviting viewers to consider dazzle’s underlying compositional structures as well as its optical effects. Elster’s paintings also prompt questions about the complicated roles artists have played in political machinery, particularly in times of war.
E x hibitio n, H aile y
Dazzle Works by Angela Tsai September 1–29
Carrie Schneider’s dazzle photographs turn the idea of camouflage on its head. In one image, a dazzle canoe isolated on a quiet lake at dusk stands out in stark contrast to its surroundings. Her photographs are clever subversions of dazzle, presenting boats and figures at rest instead of moving rapidly through water, their geometric markings and outlines clearly visible rather than confusing the eye.
Angela Tsai decorates model ships with glitter in extreme dazzle patterns. Drawing on her experience growing up in Boise, Idaho, as an Asian American, her interest in dazzle camouflage was sparked by the contradiction between standing out and blending in. Her ink drawings of dazzle ships on old Chinese calligraphy paper further connect the two cultures in which she grew up.
Stephanie Syjuco uses dazzle’s political origins as the basis for an investigation of colonialism, labor and the global marketplace. A series of self-portraits present the artist draped in layers of geometrically patterned, cheaply made clothing. Syjuco is interested in the way patterns migrate between cultures, as well as the fashion industry’s adoption of patterns with specific ethnic meanings, which she views as a kind of contemporary colonialism. For Syjuco, dazzle is a metaphor for the obscuring of the non-Western origins of both the labor and the designs behind so many contemporary fashion products.
Thu, Sep 1, 5–7pm FREE at The Center, Hailey Join us as we celebrate the opening of Safety Zone: Dazzle Works by Angela Tsai. The Center, Hailey, is open Thursdays, 2–5pm, and by appointment. 314 2nd Ave S., Hailey
Opening Celebration & Gallery Walk Fri, Aug 5, 5–7pm FREE at The Center, Ketchum Join us as we celebrate the opening of Dazzle Camouflage: Hiding in Plain Sight.
Sun Valley Center for the Arts sunvalleycenter.org
Published on Jul 28, 2016
Sun Valley Center for the Arts presets the exhibition Dazzle Camouflage Hiding in Plain Sight, August 5-October 14, 2016 War has long serve...