Arden Conine: Hot-Tub Time

Black orange sign with artist name date and numbers

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Exhibition Abstract

Hot-Tub Time is a playful exhibition of pieces exploring humans' relationship (or lack thereof) to their environment, namely through food and signage. Oftentimes these days people have a disconnect with their daily lives and the natural sources they are benefiting from. We forget that the food in our grocery stores comes from the ground and the animal products we consume come from living organisms. We use signage to navigate the boundary between civilization and nature, relying on it for guidance and safety. Through irony and humor, the work will confront these disconnects.

The centerpiece of the exhibit will be a grossly giant crocheted cow udder hanging under tension from the ceiling in the center of the room. This piece is the initial confrontation between people and their food source which is literally face-to-face with them. Sure, you drink milk and eat cheese, but do you often consider the udder from which it was sourced? The piece will capture this often-ignored circle: of us, our food, where we live, and the consequences we face as the result of our choices in those areas.

On the walls will be a series of drawings meshing signage and the environment. The complete opposition between the obvious lines of signage and the organic mystery of nature create beautiful, thought-provoking scenarios. The idea of public versus private in relationship to ecosystems will be explored through custom signage stencils which say things such as "Feral Elves Next 4 Miles." Additionally, urgently silk-screened posters will confront obvious topics like elk losing their antlers and squirrels in urban environments.

A series of prints will explore different scenarios with animals we eat while also hinting at the warming aspects of climate change. The title of the show, Hot-Tub Time, comes from a print featuring three red lobsters lounging in a steamy hot tub. The image initially comes off as humorous and whimsical until you realize the lobsters are being cooked and a pool of water is sitting beneath the tub.

Finally, my interest in the environment stems from my family's love for playing in the outdoors, so a few pieces will be dedicated to core aspects of my family. Overall, the work is colorful and playful while leading the audience to consider the relationship between themselves and their environment in the disconnected world we live in.


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