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MICHAEL PLATT in Galleries, Opens 1/20
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THE BACK FORTY: PART II
A RETROSPECTIVE OF PRINTS AND INSTALLATIONS
by Michael B. Platt
January 20 through February 18
George Mason University’s Johnson Center and Fine Arts Galleries
Fairfax, Virginia, January 7, 2004—D.C. artist Michael B. Platt’s one-man shows have included 2002’s Bushmen at Maryland Art Place in Baltimore, 1994-95 exhibits in England and representation for over two decades at The Franz Bader Gallery in Washington, DC. Now, in a wide-ranging retrospective – The Back Forty: Part II (Part I will be exhibited simultaneously at Northern Virginia Community College's Alexandria, VA campus) – George Mason University’s Johnson Center and Fine Arts Galleries showcase the eclectic and thought-provoking art of this artist in a varied forms including drawings, paintings, prints and installations. The Back Forty: Part II opens on January 20, 2004. A reception with artist talk is held on Monday, February 9, beginning with the talk in Mason’s Harris Theater at 4:30PM, and moving to the reception in the Johnson Center Gallery at 5:30PM.
"The portraits have an iconic quality," said the Baltimore City Paper of Platt’s Bushmen. And, the viewer’s impression of the tribes represented is, said the reviewer, "strong…and there’s nothing superficial or exploitative about it."
"I tend to draw and print about people, the abuse of power, and its effect on us all," says Platt of his drawings. "Like the events you may see from the window of the bus you ride to work when you can't get off the bus to fully check out what caught your eye…these fragments, like newspaper articles, old family photographs and TV news, come together to form a particular image of what kind of people we are."
Platt explains that digital work affords the opportunity to "treat photographic images as I would a drawing or a print." A recent group show at D.C.’s Anton Gallery – together with works by Rob Barnard, Allen D. Carter, Christian LeBlanc, and others, featured his digital images in unique renderings of a personal-social-historical nature.
Recent installations have dealt with living environments, particularly "shot-gun" houses. Platt explains his fascination with this distinctive artifact of Southern architecture, so-called because of their standard layout enabling someone to aim and shoot a shotgun straight through the three rooms and out the back door. "Ever since I saw shotgun houses while visiting New Orleans as a child, their narrow proportions have fascinated me. Second, it is a very essential architectural form to work with. Third, it is a form that for me visually and viscerally connects New Orleans, the Caribbean, West Africa, South Africa and other places of the African Diaspora. The memories it conjures are historical and personal."
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The Galleries are all located on Mason’s Fairfax campus. The Johnson Center Gallery is located on the main level of the George W. Johnson Center in the heart of the campus. The Fine Arts Gallery is located on the ground floor of the Fine Arts Building in room B104. The Mason Hall Atrium Gallery is on the ground floor of Mason Hall on Mason Pond Drive. Galleries are open Mon. through Thurs., from 9 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Fridays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless otherwise noted, and by appointment. The Concert Hall Gallery is open Tuesday – Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Gallery Program is a division of Mason’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, home to the Center for the Arts. The College of Visual and Performing Arts exists to create an academic environment in which the arts may be considered both as individual disciplines and as interdisciplinary forms that strengthen each other. Believing that an education in the arts is deepened by regular contact with the work of distinguished visiting artists, the College draws on a variety of professional presenting and producing units where artists from across the country and around the world regularly perform, give master classes, work with students during extended residencies, and interact with the community in a variety of other ways. These programs at the Center for the Arts Concert Hall, TheaterSpace, Galleries, Harris Theater, and other venues, provide a diverse selection of challenging and entertaining cultural experiences for the University community, as well as Northern Virginia and the greater Washington, D.C. area. The College houses four academic departments: Art and Visual Technology, Dance, Music and Theater.