Time With Teeth: An Inheritance, by Katrina Rhein
Organized by Susan Canning
Time with Teeth: An Inheritance explores the scientific, social and cultural discourses that shape inheritance and identity. An elegant wedding dress and multi-tiered cake invites associations with ritual and ceremonial legacy, familiar and familial traditions that are disrupted and transformed through Rhein’s intriguing intervention and re-presentation. Over the length of the exhibition, the installation will change as the artist adds painted and sculptural elements. This performative aspect will layer the piece with new contextual readings that encourage the audience to revisit the exhibition throughout its duration to discover new relationships and meaning in these every changing juxtapositions.
As Roland Barthes has noted, clothing acts as a “poetic object” that can be exchanged between wearer and observer in a negotiation of identities forming a “double dream of identity and play”. Both defining and obscuring the gendered body, clothing masks physical form in a web of meaning. With its variable and layered content, Rhein’s dress serves as a kind of poetic object, weaving notions of biological inheritance, genetic destiny, sexual/natural selection, evolution and altruism into a complex and at times contradictory web of relationships. Accompanied by sweet delights and attendant skulls and altering over time, Rhein’s wedding dress performs through this exhibition a kind of symbolic dance of life and death. Rituals and the accompanying social forms that inscribe gender and heredity onto the body and into culture are linked with here with references to fashion, food, science, and personal history, providing a morbid yet fascinating meditation on consumption and fetish, biology and psychology, materialism and cultural values, identity and experience.
Susan Canning is an independent curator and critic. She has organized a number of exhibitions in New York, including an earlier installation at The Classroom, at the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle, and at Real Art Ways and Trinity College in Hartford, CT. She has written reviews, interviews and feature articles for ArtPapers, Sculpture, New Art Examiner and Art in America and essays on contemporary artists for a number of catalogues. Susan Canning teaches courses in contemporary and modern art history at the College of New Rochelle.
Katrina Rhein’s paintings and installations have been seen at a number of exhibition spaces in New York, New Rochelle, and in Westchester County. She has also shown at Real Art Ways in Hartford CT., at the Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, as well as in exhibitions in Los Angeles, Toronto, and Seattle. Katrina Rhein received her M.F.A. from Queens College. Currently she is the Director of the Castle Gallery at the College of New Rochelle and is organizing an exhibition entitled “Beyond Bio: Clay Bodies” which will be on view at the gallery this September.