A long time ago, in a high school not very far away – okay, it was Watsonville High – we all knew Scott Serrano could draw. And he could draw very well. Post-high school, Scott’s work developed into elaborate, and quite amazing, performance art, where the images he created were just a small piece of the work itself.
For example, his 1999-2000 work “Anatomical Demonstrations” was a dissection lecture and mixed-media exhibition (drawings and puppetry) that included a witty, self-mock-autopsy performed by Scott using tools that he created himself based on science circa the 1800s. “Anatomical Demonstrations” ran at the Exploratorium in San Francisco and at the Fringe Festival in Philadelphia PA. Scott’s exhibitions have been shown nationwide, and his accolades include a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation and a “Six Week Artist Residency” award from the Exploratorium Museum.
Scott lives in upstate New York these days, but his newest creation, “Picturesque Flora Wallceana: Botanical Ambulations in Greater Wallaceana, 1854-1857″ will soon be on display at the Cabrillo College Gallery. This new collection revisits his favorite themes of biology and history.
Scott calls this new installation “a fabricated 19th century science narrative of the tropical island of Wallaceana presented as an installation of images, text and artifacts.” Combining fiction and history, Scott’s invented landscape of Wallaceana is named after the “great 19th century naturalist and scientist, Alfred Russell Wallace”, the “lesser-known co-discoverer of the theory of evolution”.
Scott has temporarily transformed the Cabrillo Gallery into a Victorian-Gothic science museum. Although thematically the setting is a museum, the images slyly cover subject such as the war in Iraq, human moral corruption, and social-political battles. The specific mediums include drawings and illustrations, documentation and notes, specimens, and daguerreotype portraits.
In keeping with the motif, Scott’s created text panels written by the exhibition “curator,” Henry Walter Bates, to lend greater clarity to the purpose and importance of the installation.
This is a rare chance to see the work of a once-local, and now very well-known, nationwide artist. “Picturesque Flora Wallceana” runs February 15th to March 15th. A reception with Scott Serrano takes place at the gallery this Thursday, February 14th from 5:00 – 6:30 pm.