Black & White Gallery in Chelsea is currently showing one of Julian Montague‘s recent art projects, To Know The Spiders, until July 12, 2008. Montague is intrigued by the often neglected common presences and occurrences of everyday life. The book version of a previous project, The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification, was published in 2006 by Harry Abrams. The book details his highly methodical research and classification project of the stray shopping cart phenomenon, which took place over the course of six years. The book met wide acclaim and received the Diagram Prize for the Oddest Title of 2006.
For To Know the Spiders, the artist has conducted a visual exploration and analysis of a seemingly mundane creature- the household spider. The exhibition includes photographic evidence of the artist’s somewhat scientific process. First, this overlooked occupant of our shared interiors is put to rest at the exact location it was found. The artist then collects the specimen and studies the face of the spider below a microscope, creating several drawings during this stage. From these drawings, a fabric banner is assembled with a stark black and white portrait of the little victim. This banner is then placed and photographed in the exact location of collection, thereby recognizing the presence of this innocuous invertebrate and serving as a fibrous farewell to the spider who had to die for this understanding to be gained.
This exhibition concludes Black & White Gallery’s three-part season long multi-disciplinary program entitled The Proper Animal. All artists included in the program
utilized highly original animal iconography, inevitably bringing ethical questions into play. Montague received his B.A in Media Studies from Hampshire College in 1996 and has exhibited widely in the US, including shows at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut, Art in General in New York City, and Light Factory in Charlotte.