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Rudy Shepherd

Cloud Cave and the Creature Within

Mixed Greens is pleased to start the season with a solo exhibition by Rudy Shepherd. The show will include a new series of photographs, a life-sized cave and a new video.

Upon entering the gallery, the viewer will be confronted by a large, white cloud cave floating in a blue sky. Surrounding the cave will be a series of 40 x 40 inch photographs entitled “Ursa Major Contemplating the Meaning of the Universe.” In each photo, the artist is present, wearing a black bear suit in the snow. The setting is a contained “wild.”

Through music emanating from the cave, the viewer is lured inside to sit with a video monitor. On the screen, a black bear emerges from behind a boulder to the sound of rock music and a screaming baby. As the bear gets closer, the artifice of the costume becomes more visible. The bear is simultaneously scary and humorous, appropriately “wild” and therefore the cliché of the monster. The bear approaches a young boy who, instead of running, fights the bear in an Oedipalesque snowball fight.

Both the video and the accompanying photographs inspire conversations related to identity, fatherhood, and home. It becomes apparent that it is not the outward costume that is scary, but the potential and mysterious nature of the individual within the disguise.

Rudy Shepherd had his first solo exhibition at the Regina Gouger Miller Gallery at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA (2003). Solo shows at Mixed Greens followed (2004, 2005). His group show venues include the Studio Museum in Harlem (2004, 2005), P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, Long Island City, NY (2002), Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD (2000) and The Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, IL (2000). He had performances at the Queens Museum of Art, NY (2003, 2002) and Mixed Greens (2003).

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