Cathy Akers‘ current show at Honor Fraser Gallery in Los Angeles takes on a big issue: the history of the human race. Akers’ dioramas depict Adam and Eve like figures in surroundings that resemble Eden. Yet the world depicted in Akers’ exhibition, titled Hertopia: An Illustrated History of the New World, is more delinquent than it is idyllic.
This is Akers first solo exhibition since graduating from the MFA program at California Institute of the Arts in 2006. Prior to now, she’s exhibited in group shows, like (Tender) Assembly at the Show Cave and a Juried Exhibition at the Torrance Art Museum. Interested in the large-scale dilemmas of evolution and human nature, Akers wants to push the envelope where ideas of utopia and “natural” human interactions are concerned. In 2007, she made a sculptural cake called “Natural Selection.” Gallery visitors ate away at the cake, naturally selecting parts of the edible world Akers had created. In Hertopia, Akers’ utopias are childishly hellish. She at once captures the jubilance associated with lush, green terrain and uninhibited nakedness and the brutality of human beings. The lack of inhibition in her sculptures leads to a disconcerting world in which characters pursue their desires both to their own benefit and detriment. Hertopia will be on exhibit through May 17th.