Butterflies, birds, flora, atoms and pearls abound in Renee McGinnis’ second solo exhibition at Zg Gallery, In Search of Symmetry. For McGinnis, each of these symbolic images embodies the essential state of symmetry that ensures the stability of virtually all physical forces and living organisms. Not only does the presence of symmetry bind together this vast spectrum of subject matter both conceptually and formally, it also imbues the artist’s paintings with pervasive tension; without this inherent design, everything --even our solar system-- would fail.
Here, the perfection and cruciality of symmetry is underscored through the contrast of asymmetry, particularly that of civilization’s imbalance between male and female. Research shows that high birth rates occur in places where women’s status in society is low, and the subsequent volume of humanity breeds more and more industry to support the population’s needs. In McGinnis’ work, this failed symmetry and its subsequent byproduct is illustrated in the manmade towers and ships infringing on the lush, natural landscapes.
In Search of Symmetry also features a series of paintings on small circular or long rectangular supports, themselves a literal manifestation of the Morse code dots and dashes that make up the maritime distress signal, “S.O.S.” In this exhibition, McGinnis continues to harness her masterful aptitude for rendering realism to both revel in the beauty of nature, and also underpin this perfection with the threatening aura of mankind’s faults and hubris.