Hunter Shaw Fine Art presents A Nightmare on the Brains of the Living, the gallery’s third solo exhibition with Los Angeles based artist Don Edler. An opening art party was held on September 17, 2023. However, the exhibition runs throughOctober 19, 2023. 

Hunter Shaw

Hunter Shaw Don Edler

The works on view constitute the latest chapter in Edler’s ongoing critical examination of the interrelationships between technology, cultural production and Western hegemony. Edler’s multidisciplinary approach articulates a nuanced visual history, illustrating a complex narrative of industrial society, its past and likely future. The artist conveys this story in a recent series of unique, CMYK silk screen prints on panel. The artist utilizes appropriated images from Western art history and mass media.

Through a focused selection of source material, these works trace humanity’s Promethean impulses from the domestication of fire, to the age of peak oil and climate collapse. Edler expresses his views on the research and themes that guide this work through his speculative essay Prometheus and our Pyrophilic Anthropocene which will be available in the gallery.

A Nightmare on the Brains of the Living

In the present body of work, Edler engages the myth of Prometheus as a framework. He illuminates the ways in which humanity’s pyrophilic (fire-loving) tendencies have advanced a ruthless and exploitative technological worldview. Thus resulting in devastating repercussions for our planet and its inhabitants. In particular, Edler highlights the relationship between empire-building and increased energy consumption.

Across the series we see early 20th century postcards advertising the oil fields of Los Angeles. These works are found alongside apocalyptic images of the Kuwait oil fires from almost a century later. In the former, a billowing spire of noxious smoke intends to entice prospective land owners. Offering bounty and fortunes to be made on the new frontiers of “black gold.” While the latter captures the catastrophic realities of militarized conflict over the control of valuable energy resources. The net result of this trajectory is clear: fire begets fire, and scorched Earth is all that remains.

Scattered across the gallery floor are several human and Homo erectus skulls coated in petroleum-based wax. Accompanying this boneyard is a free-standing vertical plank bearing a low-relief image of a guillotine. On one hand, these objects explicitly allude to the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution, while simultaneously, the tableaux also recalls the promethean “Dawn of Man” sequence at the beginning of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Don Edler

The artist was born in Bremen, Germany and immigrated as a child to South Florida. He received an MFA in Design/Media Arts from UCLA, as well as an MFA in Studio Art from New York University. Edler received a BFA in Sculpture from University of Florida, Gainesville FL, and also attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Madison ME.

On view:  September 17, 2023 – October 29, 2023

What: Don Edler: A Nightmare on the Brains of the Living
Where: Hunter Shaw Fine Art, 5513 W Pico Blvd, LA, 90019

When: Running through October 19, 2023

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