“Newton's Third” is F+ Gallery's Balancing Act

Last weekend, F+ Gallery opened its newest art exhibition, “Newton's Third,” an art show with the running theme of Sir Isaac Newton's third law of motion (you know, the one that says that if an object exerts force on another object, that second object will exert an equal and opposite reaction to that force blah blah blah). Without getting two heavy into science or physics, the show instead explored a cosmic interpretation of Newton's third law–balance, duality, and the connectivity between good and evil.

Curated by artist Jennie Cotterill, over thirty artists exhibited work, from illustration to sculpture to painting to multimedia. Here are some highlights of the show, which should really be observed in person while the show lasts, until October 26th.


Susanne Melanie Berry
Newton's Third

Poor Barbie! The choice to use instant film creates a snapshot quality to this piece, or perhaps adds another element of nostalgia. Childhood, benign and endearing, is under attack- but deeper still, two forms of femininity are pushing against each other; the imposed standards of beauty and body perfection characterized by a nude Barbie doll versus the grown, unwilling participant of these societal beauty standards, characterized by the black nail polish on the person's fingernails as she destroys Barbie's wholeness and perfection. It's a tale told time and time again, but Berry's piece brilliantly summarizes this tension under the gaze of photography in only three frames.

Mclean Fahnestock

Memory persists in the projected image of the sea, shown on a circular piece of glass held down by a single wire. Fahnestock's piece calls to attention the memories of things lost, and the vastness of time. With every slow rotation, the fragile circle of glass is threatened by the constant pull of two opposing forces- the wire and gravity. Yet, as the title of the work suggests, the feeling of lovesickness and heartache can best be summed up physically by the force of weight and heaviness inside the inner pit of your stomach. Ah, what fools we mortals be!

Fred Rose
During the week he made coffins and buried the dead. On weekends he planted trees. He used the same shovel.

I'm almost certain the title doesn't stem from a previous text, yet it still allows the viewer to piece together a narrative. Rose beautifully crafted and assembled together various types of trees such as Indian laurel fig, Irish bog oak, flake board, and creeping fig. The total formation symbolizes the circular process of life and death, which is as natural and longstanding as a tree. As your eye roves around each tiny object, you're reminded of those four seasonal eras of life- birth, youth, old age, death- while at the center of it all a person whose professions keep him grounded in the duality of life and death with a quiet dignity.

Autumn Buck (above)
6ft. Above

Buck's piece sits next to Fred Rose's piece above, and personally, I wouldn't have placed two similar artworks right next to each other, as they would really echo the same messages. There are a lot of pieces dealing with the binary of life and death, and this one screams it loud and clear. Still, on its own, Buck's piece seems like its questioning both concepts through its large, blaring letters. There is a difference between being alive and living- nature, symbolized by the live succubi embedded in the piece, performs its functions involuntarily and without question; its possible and common for human beings to do the same, performing necessary functions to survive without enjoying the fruits of labor. It's the worst kind of entrapment, next to that of a coffin.

Paul Aguilera
Mama Odin

Featuring the best use of Martha Stewart glitter paint I've ever seen, Aguilera drew from Norse mythology the god Odin, inverting the gender to create him as a maternal figure. It's a convoluted piece, with tiny animals sprouting out of Mama Odin's head, painted over collages of comic book pages pasted underneath. A most unusual barrage of cultural influences are working together here, with the added appeal of being able to actually touch every layer of media on the canvas. Additionally, Aguilera admits that the passing of his grandmother partly inspired the work, further instilling the theme of life and death in an unconventional presentation.

Trace Mendoza
Dingle Diarrhea, Debris Demons

This graphically stark mixed media piece calls to mind the chaotic mess of a Monty Python animation sketch with its various cultural icons drawn and quartered together within the frame. Visually, you can't fathom a sense of balance, but conceptually good and evil are at play here, as each figure carries a cultural, social, or political significance, from the cheery Mickey Mouse to a four-eyed Barack Obama. Meticulously illustrated in black and white, Mendoza's piece really challenges the duality between good and evil by instilling an eerie, vague portrait of some of the most recognizable figures in society, reminding us that sometimes there really is no clear separation of the two.

“Newton's Third” will be around for only a limited time, people! So either make an appointment to observe each fabulous artwork on its own, or make a point to stop by at the closing reception on October 26, for more details, check out F+ Gallery online.

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