An ‘anti-Trump/pro-humanity’ exhibition titled “Minutiae of Humanity Shall Overcome the Beast” featuring the work of Scott Kraynak opens Friday, Oct. 16 at Gallery + in the 78th Street Studios.
The artist and curator is incensed by the current administration and not timid about expressing his anger. And the origins of the exhibition itself trace back to his travels last year, when distance gave some perspective.
In the winter of 2019 Kraynak traveled to Ecuador and was enamored with the culture and hardworking people of the nation. “I couldn't wait to explore the incredible nature, watch and hear the astounding array of birds, witness first-hand the beautiful art created by Ecuadorian masters, experience the culture, taste the food and to simply spend a little part of my life in such a wonderful country,” said Kraynak. But being in this exotic place made him think about what things were like politically back home in comparison.
“I am from the United States of America, which is currently being destroyed and embarrassed by its current President: the idiotic, racist, deplorable, disgraceful Donald Trump,” Kraynak said. “It disturbs me greatly that the rest of the world possibly thinks that all Americans support and agree with our current 'dictator.'”
The exhibition will consist of portraits of Ecuadorian citizens along with portraits of Trump rendered in magic marker, which Kraynak said was premeditated to “reflect his childish and immature behavior and opinions.”
This portion of the exhibition will be sequestered behind a ‘wall.’ This wall according to Kraynak is “…meant to represent the oppression of others' voices, rights, and opinions that the entire Trump administration and his supporters have become so proud of, as well as to separate this evil from the humanity and goodness represented by Ecuadorian portraits.” Among the rather shocking pieces which will be on display of the sitting POTUS, a few feature Trump with his fabled pouty-lipped grimace toting signs with messages such as, ‘Rapist’ and ‘Misogynist.’
I asked Kraynak about the title, “Minutiae of Humanity Shall Overcome the Beast,” which is taken from “Biting Silence,” a novel by Arturo Von Vacano, a Bolivian writer, editor, and translator for United Press International.
“The events, crimes and injustices he wrote about being facilitated and carried out by the government are similar to what I feel Trump is trying to do here,” said Kraynak. “The quote itself, I felt, was perfect for this exhibit because half of this exhibit portrays the everyday, hard-working people of Ecuador who often are marginalized and whose voices are censored.”
Kraynak’s paintings of the Ecuadorian people are reminiscent of fellow Clevelander Robert Crumb, with the stippling-like application of pigment also exhibits shades of Amedeo Modigliani with the sometimes exaggerated features of the subjects.
Kraynak is well-traveled and wears many hats. One of those is that of a park ranger. “My career as a Park Ranger has immensely increased my absolute wonder and astonishment of our natural world and much of my work is of wildlife and landscapes,” said Kraynak. “I often donate work to be used in fundraisers or to be sold in park stores where all profits go to the park or a certain project, for example to protect an endangered species. In this exhibit, all profits are being donated to the Maquipucuna Cloud Forest Reserve in Ecuador to purchase and protect land. Anyone with the love for the natural world and desire to end its destruction has to despise this current president. His policies and programs do nothing to curb climate change, do nothing to protect parks and sacred areas, and do nothing in terms with working with the rest of the world to combat which is hands down the greatest threat to our species survival, climate change.”
“If you look at Brazil, their people and their environment, most notably the Amazon, are being destroyed by their own evil president Jair Bolsonaro," he said. "I have a dear friend in Brazil, and we speak often of the similarities both of our countries are going through under the rule of such selfish, arrogant, greedy and horrible leaders. I think about what is happening to our environment and at times I just want to curl up and cry.”
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