Arlington Arts Center Presents King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity

By Editorial Team on January 19, 2016

Sat, 23 January 2016 - Sun, 03 April 2016

Jonathan Monaghan, Life Tastes Good, video still, 2010. Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York.
Jonathan Monaghan, Life Tastes Good, video still, 2010. Courtesy bitforms gallery, New York.


RESCHEDULED TO: Saturday, February 20 from 6pm to 9pm


Panel Discussion and Closing Reception: Saturday, April 2 from 1pm to 4 pm

Arlington Arts Center (AAC) announces the opening of King of the Forest: Adventures in Bioperversity, an exhibition featuring thirteen contemporary artists from the mid-Atlantic region whose work explores the interactions between humans and non-human species.  Inspired by a growing interest in climate change, and the impact and footprint humans have on the planet, this exhibition asks viewers to consider humanity’s relationships with other species, and whether it’s possible to co-existent harmoniously.

King of the Forest asks: how has human activity and human species-privileging changed the animal kingdom? Consumerist culture, the quest for immortality, and human indifference to other species has led to a tenuous relationship with the planet and its non-human inhabitants. Through a range of media including drawing, sculpture, installation, video, photography and sound, this exhibition explores and imagines the strength and severity of the impact that humans have on the planet, and particularly on animals.

Artists wrestle with these ideas, creating works that blur the line between human and animal, act as commentary on the power structures of the natural world, and use animal behavior to offer insight into human pursuits and motivations.

Exhibiting Artists:

  • Selin Balci
    With a background in microbiology, Selin Balci uses microorganisms to explore human behavior. Through her practice Balci manipulates the environments of microbes to create competition for resources. The resulting visual effect illustrates how the behavior of microorganisms resembles humanity’s pursuit of dominance.
  • Krista Caballero & Frank Ekeberg
    Birding the Future is the brainchild of collaborators Krista Caballero & Frank Ekeberg.  This installation pairs the sound of bird calls of endangered and extinct species with a stereoscopic viewfinder to create an immersive experience.  The project focuses on the rising extinction rates of birds, commonly seen as a barometer for the overall health of various habitats, and comments on the current trend of dwindling biodiversity.
  • Anthony Cervino
    Looking back to one of the oldest forms of artistic expression to consider the intersection between humans and animals, Anthony Cervino’s fable and sculptures provide a metaphor for the self-preservation practiced by humans and animals alike. Using humor and narrative, Cervino’s art brings to life the notion that humans and animals are not so different.
  • Rebecca Clark
    Rebecca Clark’s detailed drawings bring attention to the long-term impact that the detachment of humans from nature has had on animals.  Her drawings are portraits of life and death in the lives of animals, both celebratory and nostalgic, the work persuades the viewer to take note.
  • Lisa Crafts
    Lisa Crafts’ video works subtly explore the long-term effects of The Age of Discovery, and the resulting consumerism and globalization.  The impact this expansion has had on the environment and humanity’s relationship to and understanding of the other species of the planet features prominently in her dystopian half-real/half-imagined scenes.
  • Joan Danziger
    Joan Danziger’s series of sculptural beetles, Inside the Underworld, will infest the nooks and crannies of AAC’s exhibition spaces.  Danziger’s fascination with beetles stems from an interest in mythology and the power and importance that beetles have held in narrative form for centuries.  Crawling around in unexpected places at AAC, they seem to say “we will still be here, even when you are gone.”
  • Talia Greene
    Talia Greene’s print series Ruination, explores devastation.  Inspired by historical techniques and concepts, Greene imagines ruins of man-made and natural disasters given over to nature as wildlife preserves, suggesting that nature will continue to rise up in the face of humanity’s perceived power over it.
  • Jonathan Monaghan
    Jonathan Monaghan’s computer-animated video works get at some of the most anxiety-producing aspects of human society.  In Life Tastes Good, he explores the behavior of a polar bear as it slowly dies.  With the familiar markings of the Coca-Cola mass-marketing campaign, Monaghan’s video considers the way consumerist and capitalist tendencies creep into the understanding of and relationship to animals.
  • David D’Orio and Henrik Sundqvist
    The sculptor and printmaker team David D’Orio and Henrik Sundqvist will present works around the disconnection between human survival and the effects of contemporary agricultural practices on the health of the environment.  Looking at the practice of spraying food products with chemicals, D’Orio and Sundqvist examine the political and economic aspects of humanity’s continued quest for dominance and control over nature, and the impact of that quest on other species and the connection to nature.
  • Lindsay Pichaske
    Lindsay Pichaske’s intricately carved sculptures explore the boundaries of human and animal.  Her sculptures ask, what separates people from animals?  Her animals are at once real and science fiction, questioning the constructed hierarchy that defines us and separates us from other species.
  • Leslie Shellow
    Leslie Shellow’s site-specific installation, Entanglements explores the forces at work in the natural world.  Despite humanity’s efforts to control and dominate nature, Shellow suggests that nature will continue to play out unexpectedly.  She implies that if humans were only to stop and appreciate the ever-moving life-cycle of nature, the connection to it would increase and anxiety over the need for control could dissipate.


Also on view at Arlington Arts Center:

Rachel Schmidt: Daydreams in the Anthropocene
January 23 – April 3

In her solo show in the Wyatt Resident Artists Gallery, Daydreams in the Anthropocene, Rachel Schmidt asks us to walk with her through a not-so distant future. Examining the role that humans have played in changing the environment, Schmidt’s work explores the concept of the Anthropocene.To many scientists, the Anthropocene, or “age of humans,” represents a new geological era, one in which humans have had an impact on the environment, and have changed the landscape.

Schmidt will present works that explore these and other questions surrounding what it means to be in the Anthropocene.  Her exhibition also addresses her desire for humans to stop and consider, to be present in this new geological age, and contemplate the impact of human existence, both now, and in the future.

Schmidt received her MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art, and her BFA in Textile Design from the University of Kansas. She is a Resident Artist at Arlington Arts Center and an Exhibits Specialist at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. In addition to contributing to Foggy Bottom’s Sculpture Biennial (DC), she has also exhibited in such venues as Hillyer Art Space (DC), District of Columbia Arts Center (DC), Artisphere (VA), Arlington Arts Center (VA), Brentwood Arts Exchange Gateway Arts Center (MD), and in an MFA Biennial at Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts (DE).  Group exhibitions include Allentown Art Museum (PA), Creative Alliance (MD), RFD Gallery (GA), and Komuna Otwock Gallery (Warsaw, Poland).

Instructor Select 2016
January 23 – April 3

Instructor Select 2016 will feature work by AAC’s students and instructors to showcase the emerging talent in AAC’s adult classes. Work by AAC instructors Melanie Kehoss, Stephanie Lane, Jennifer Wilkin Penick, and Jenny Walton will be highlighted alongside those of their students. Side by side these works will explore the transmission and flow of ideas and techniques from instructor to student.


Gallery Hours:

  • Wednesday – Sunday: Noon to 5pm
  • or by appointment

AAC is located at 3550 Wilson Blvd Arlington, VA. For more information visit