Those who recognize the iconic line of this exhibition's title from the Talking Heads album, "Little Creatures", may sense a foreshadowing of dark humor as Joe Peragine brings his formidable talents of artistic expression to focus on different ways of envisioning nature that depends heavily upon nostalgia.
Marcia Wood Gallery (Midtown) is delighted to present a solo exhibition by the popular Atlanta based artist Joseph Peragine. This will be the artist's second exhibition with Marcia Wood Gallery and his fifth in Atlanta. Peragine's subject matter ranges from the animal kingdom to detective novels to tanks to wrestlers, and his media includes painting, drawing, sculpture, animation and site specific installations. Peragine's public art installation of red ants in Atlanta's Hartsfield Jackson International Airport is a favorite of millions of travelers and it is especially momentous that his upcoming new body of work represents a return to the world of the animals. Continuing his practice of exploring questions of strength and vulnerability, power and impotence, Peragine now adds taxidermy and natural history dioramas to the conversation. Along with new paintings of animals reminiscent of images he created in the early 2000's, Peragine has been developing work since 2010 inspired by dioramas. He has spent years researching and traveling to natural history museums including The American Museum of Natural History in New York City and others around the globe. The great natural history dioramas were made in the 1920-40's, when the animals and environments were already in peril, often from excessive hunting. Believing the animals would be gone in twenty-five years, the goal was to get their skins before the animals went extinct - perversely ensuring their destruction. They were making sure they had an accurate vision of the past when nostalgia hit the future. The artist wishes the viewer to note that "In case this matters, I am a scavenger not a predator. I don't pretend to be giving the animal a second life as some taxidermists claim. If anything my poor taxidermy skills only reinforce the reality that the animal is dead and gone. Although the end result may possess a dark humor I don't treat the process frivilously. I am indebted to these small creatures."
Joseph Peragine's work has been presented in galleries, contemporary art spaces, and museums throughout the country and internationally. The scope of Peragine's multi-disciplinary practice encompasses public art projects and commissions, including exhibitions at Art in General in New York City, Islip Museum of Art, West Islip, NY, Sunken Garden Park, Atlanta, and the permanent installation for the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, Atlanta, for which he was also awarded an Atlanta Urban Design Commission Award of Excellence for Public Art, as well as being noted one of the best public art projects in 2001 in Art in America. In 2001 Peragine was invited to exhibit his work and participate in an international symposium on art and science in Beijing, China, hosted by Tsing Hua University and the National Museum of Fine Art of China. Peragine's animations have been exhibited at the Palm Beach ICA, Florida, the Cheekwood Museum of Art, Nashville, TN, MOCA GA, Atlanta, GA, DiverseWorks, Houston, TX and the Arizona State University Art Museum Short Film and Video Festival, among others. His paintings, drawings and sculpture have been exhibited in galleries including Solomon Projects, Atlanta, Atlelie397, Sao Paulo, Brazil, David J. Sencer Museum at the CDC, Atlanta, Agnes Scott College, Dalton Gallery, Decautur, GA, Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL, Polk Museum of Art, Lakeland, FL, the UA Museum of Art, and Kress Gallery, Tucson, AZ, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, Kennesaw State University, Kennesaw, GA.
Peragine was born in Jersey City, New Jersey in 1961. He completed his undergraduate work in fine art at the University of Georgia, Athens, and in 1995 received his MFA in painting from Georgia State University, Atlanta, where he is currently an Associate Professor in Drawing, Painting and Printmaking. He recently completed a prestigious five year studio residency at the Atlanta Contemporary Art Center.