For Immediate Release

Media Contacts: Melanie Mathos / Hannah Nuccio
Lou Hammond & Associates /
(843) 371-1363 / (843) 410-5306


Concept of Free Will Explored in New Video Installation at the Gibbes

Citadel Summerall Guards Prominently Featured – May 4 – August 12, 2007

(Charleston, SC) – The question of free will's role in contemporary society is posed by new media artist Janet Biggs in her video installation Like Tears in Rain at the Gibbes Museum of Art May 4 through August 12, 2007. Installed in the Rotunda Gallery, large scale footage of the Citadel's elite Summerall Guard drill team is paired with that of a champion equestrian who has been blind from early youth. Juxtaposed behind these images is a video of captive polar bears swimming repetitively in their small pool. The divergence of this imagery explores issues of control, power and obsession and introduces new relationships between aesthetics and strength, action and desire.

The Summerall Guards and their signature silent drill have never been a part of an art exhibition. The obsession and passion of the cadets is evident in Biggs' footage as they move in synchronization from a high Prussian marching step to the fluid "death march." The young cadets seemingly relinquish their individuality to become a part of the choreography of war. Fierce in her search for independence, blind horseback rider Anne-Greta orients herself by listening for verbal cues from strategically placed individuals who call out her location in the Dressage ring. For this video, the individuals calling out to Anne-Greta each speak a word or two from the film Blade Runner, constructing the sentence, "All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain."

Two polar bears that have lived their entire lives in a contained environment swim a seemingly synchronized dance of endless repetition. Biggs regards this movement as the bears' attempt to transcend their physical boundaries.

While at first glance one may be confused and unsettled by the intensity and divergence of the imagery in Like Tears in Rain, upon further contemplation the viewer recognizes the obsessive commitment involved in the choices we make and the frustration that is instinctive in all living creatures to have mastery over free will.
This exhibition is sponsored by Garden & Gun magazine.

A trained equestrian and equestrian instructor, Biggs earned a BFA from the Moore College of Art in Philadelphia and completed graduate work at the Rhode Island School of Design. She is formally trained in painting and sculpture and began exploring video and new media in the early 1990s. Biggs has exhibited at numerous institutions throughout the United States and abroad including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, the Santa Fe Art Institute, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University and the San Francisco Art Institute. She currently resides in New York City.

Museum visitors will have the opportunity to meet the artist for an informal discussion about the exhibition followed by a viewing of works from other contemporary video artists in the Gibbes courtyard. The evening is free for museum members and $5 for general admission.

Established as the Carolina Art Association in 1858, the Gibbes Museum of Art opened its doors to the public in 1905 in historic Charleston, S.C. The Gibbes houses one of the foremost collections of American Art from the 18th century to the present. The Gibbes is currently undergoing major renovations and will reopen in the spring of 2016. The renovated museum will properly showcase its extensive collections and will feature an admission-free ground floor, providing a place to watch artists at work in studios and stroll through a world-class garden.

135 Meeting Street | Charleston, SC | 29401