Illuminated creature-like structures pulled me into the Alumni Invitational 3 room upon entering the Tang Gallery at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs. These perfectly constructed and stunningly beautiful creations are a collaboration of art and design, which showcase Johnny Swing’s thoughtful and environment-friendly use of satellite dishes and various types of glass jars. The figures are large without being ominous. They are oddly inviting, asking you to walk through the black, metal arches and plant yourself underneath the span of radiant and peaceful light.
After swinging through the metallic archways, I was faced with Bradley Castellanos’ large color photos that he cropped, cut, and layered with oil, acrylic paint, and resin. His works explore the conflict between beauty and destruction. He takes devastated scenes (typically demolished man-made structures embedded in nature) and makes them beautiful and vibrant by overlapping different techniques onto the photo, such as adding unnatural colors, like turquoise, to natural scenes. Bones and rib cages entwined in vines and tree trunks made his piece “Choke” stand out the most. It gave me the vibe that nature is evil, which is quite contradictory to the typical view of nature being a place of innocence and tranquility.