Areca Roe's 'Habitat' at SooVAC
It looks like a kiddie pool: small, circular, decoratively painted. Red and blue balls float in the center, and at the far end of the pool near the steps a seal peeks its head out of the water. Behind him, there's a building with clouds painted on the wall.
The photograph, taken at the San Francisco Zoo by Areca Roe, demonstrates the sad state of this particular seal's home, inspiring sympathy and resonating an all too human sense of isolation and ennui. It's one of nine pieces by Roe currently exhibited at SooVAC, including seven archival pigment prints taken in various zoos, and two sculptures made of found objects. "Habitat" is depressing to the point of inspiring outrage at times. The photographs are also exquisitely shot, and the artist manages to create a sense of beauty within the context of the animals living in imprisonment.
Polar Bear Toy 2 by Areca Roe
Lake Superior Zoo, Duluth, Minnesota #2 by Areca Roe
In addition to the photography, Roe displays two polar-bear toys: a water jug and an orange sled. They are beaten up a bit, particularly the sled, which is bent in places and contains holes that seem to be made by the polar bear's claws. These plastic artifacts suggest the rage and despair of the poor things that are so many miles from their real home. That is, if you believe these animals are capable of such feelings. After seeing "Habitat," there's no doubt that you will.
IF YOU GO:
Exhibition runs through July 7
Soo Visual Arts Center
2638 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis
Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wed.-Fri.; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sat.
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