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Laurie Hogin: The Forest of the Future

September 22, 2007 - January 13, 2008

Laurie Hogin, Diorama: Land of Desire, 2007, oil on canvas, 36 x 48 in., courtesy of the artist and Littlejohn Contemporary, New York.
Best known for her paintings of plants and animals in overgrown landscape settings, Chicago-based artist Laurie Hogin’s work tackles issues of consumer culture, brand loyalty, and the world's fragile ecosystem. More than a social or political statement, Hogin addresses how single images conjure up entire narratives and how these images imply stories and myths that speak to individual and shared desires.

In her works, allegorical animal and plant specimens sport the colors of branded commodities and nationalist identity. Angry little songbirds, fashion-model monkeys, and reptiles patterned with the colors of industrial entities, cosmetics, and modern media sit on rocky outcroppings as though arranged for retail display. While thoroughly modern, her work conjures up their 17th century Dutch and Flemish antecedents, the time of the birth of the middle class and a new consumer culture.

Her most recent work includes paintings, sculpture and costumes that create narratives to form a wry commentary on various contemporary cultural and political currents in the U.S. In other recent work, Hogin refers to an environment where the products of industry have infiltrated every last corner, where the global system of production has maneuvered its way into the natural world, and the landscape itself has taken on industrial hues. This is a world where the very DNA of all organic life has been altered and manipulated by the culture of commerce, where identity is replaced with product.

This exhibition will serve as an "early career retrospective," affording the visitor the opportunity to see Laurie Hogin's work created over the past 15 years. Drawn from private collections, the artist's galleries—in Chicago, New York, Culver City, California and Newcastle, England—and the artist herself, this exhibition is the largest solo exhibition of Hogin's work to date. Accompanying many of the works are artist's statements about the ideas and concepts that motivated the creation of the work. These texts ask the viewer to think more critically about the world in which he or she lives and the daily factors that influence the decisions we all make.

This exhibition is made possible by The Momentum Fund and the Altorfer, Inc. Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and by the Annual Fund and Members of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.


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