One day, an explorer who often amused himself pondering over what the world would be like if
crocodiles could fly, found himself paddling a canoe in a jungle stream as a caiman basked nearby in the shallow water. The explorer watched in amazement as the caiman leaped out of the water six feet into the air to swipe a bird off of a tree branch. The world had not changed, but his understanding of it had expanded to include the realization of his imagined scenario.
What if the improbable is?
We can think of “What If...?” as a point firmly anchored at the intersection of perceived reality,
possibility and imagination.
To illustrate this idea using the example of the caiman, the explorer can say “I see a crocodile. It is real.” Then he might consider possibility: “What if there are other crocodiles in the water and what if the crocodiles want to eat me? Maybe I can find safety by climbing a tree”. Finally, his imagination can lead him to a scene outside of his perceived reality: “What if the crocodiles can fly? They will attack me from the air and I will not be safe on this branch, six feet in the air, no matter how secure my perch may seem.” The imagined idea seems like preposterous fiction, yet as the explorer has discovered, it is real that some crocodiles can attack from the air.
“What if...?” questions boundaries by asking us to consider whether the hypothetical and that which we imagine might also be part of our reality. It might even suggest that the answer lies more in our perspective than in an objective concrete form. Applying this idea to art allows us to suspend disbelief and accept that perception and reality are one and the same. Thus, the artist may translate a scene from their imagination into a work that can be perceived as a real experience by the viewer.
The six artists in this group exhibition, Noah Becker, John Foster, Blake Hiltunen, Zahra Nazari, Jonathan Rosen, and Brigitta Varadi have each taken familiar concrete forms or ideas and altered them or changed their context, as if to say “what if we did this?”, to create perceptions of new realities. Though the artists have disparate styles, their individual works link from one to the next through simple aesthetic commonalities. Seeing them together draws us in with an ever-present sensation that we are being taken on a magical trip of the imagination, as if we are being asked to see from a different perspective – that of a post-apocalyptic psychedelic rebirth.