The rainforests are rapidly depleting. Almost daily we hear about a new at risk animal or how our entire ecosystem is on the verge of crashing. The middle class is becoming more and more of a memory and, in general, our lives are becoming more and more endangered.
Studio Bongiorno’s new show, The Endangered, curated by artist Timothy Dilbeck, discusses these and other threatened topics.
“You start hearing the news and this animal is dying and that animal is dying and then also this whole economic situation we had where we had businesses that were around for 50 years suddenly gone, never to be seen again,” says Dilbeck. “That’s an endangerment of some kind … There are so many different things that can cause something to be endangered.”
Dilbeck’s goal is to give the artists a jumping-off point and let them take it to whatever subject they feel compelled to paint. He also wants to encourage artists to create new art for this show, instead of recycling paintings that have been shown in other galleries.
According to Dilbeck, between eight and 10 artists, including Jojo Perea, Joel Tesch and Theresa Merchant, will contribute works to the show; and one photographer, Gabriel Ibarra, whose images haunt Studio Bongiorno’s owner, Phil Bongiorno.
“He photographed Agnews in black and white, with different lights, and it’s got this insane asylum, fenced in, closed feel, which is extinct,” he says. “When Reagan was governor here, he basically shut down all the institutions and that’s when we saw homelessness. So, it’s the extinction of mental health facilities. His photos are just haunting because of the transition of this building. Some of them aren’t really old but to tie into the fact that [the closing of these institutions] is a huge thing. Growing up here, I don’t remember homelessness as a child, but after [Reagan closed the mental hospitals], it exploded.”
Dilbeck adds that The Endangered is also about the local arts scene. “It’s in danger,” he says. “It’s disappearing because of lack of funding or lack of exposure – lack of education. I feel a lot of artists are feeling that crunch; talented people – super talented – who are giving it up for something else that will make money … I had this idea [to do a show about endangerment] and I thought it was a good idea. When I started doing rhino paintings, I was already thinking about endangered things so it just seemed like it would be a good subject.” Dilbeck says that although he has work that is topical, he chose to not include his paintings in this exhibition.
The Endangered opens Saturday, April 4 at 500 Lincoln Street in Santa Clara. A reception is scheduled for Saturday night from 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. Visit www.facebook.com/events/614514578679254/ for more information.