Bethany Krull (b.1981), Contained, 2007; clay and mixed media, cocoons, glass jars, ash, steel, 72 x 60 x 14 inches; Gift of the artist, 2009
Bethany Krull: Unveiling the Darkness of Human Nature
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Bethany Krull’s work Contained is exhibited in an optimal location within the Burchfield Penny Center. Located in a front window on the second floor, the piece glows as the light filters through it. Contained features a myriad of glass jars that are organized horizontally and held in place by wooden beams, bearing some resemblance to a bookshelf. Though the design is predictable and organized, the effect of the piece is stunning. As the natural light permeates the barely translucent glass jars, it creates a subtle glow and illuminates the objects concealed within.
A plethora of differing biological forms are suspended and contained within the glass jars. When looking closely, the viewer is able to catch glimpses of cocoons and the intriguing diversity contributed by the mixed media used by the artist becomes apparent. This is darkly reminiscent of horror films, in which the villain keeps human or animal biology in jars. This connotation leads the viewer to a final foreboding concept; like how one snatches flowers out of their natural habitat only to let it wither and decay slowly for their own selfish gain. The viewer is left with a haunting feel of the exploitation of nature and the environment. Rather than being the victims of brutality, we are the evil and malicious torturers of something truly innocent and beautiful- nature. While initially calming due to its brilliant use of light, Contained ultimately unveils a darker and twisted relationship between humans and nature.
Kaitlyn Malinowski is a student at Buffalo State. The project for FAR 104 spring 2016 was to write a blog inspired by an artwork on exhibition at the Burchfield Penney Art Center.