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Endangered species such as the golden toad
and honeybees circle genetically engineered
corn, and Dolly the sheep and her clone from
the 1990s also appear, suggesting a new and
perhaps pernicious era of science.
The second tapestry, Allegory of the Infinite
Mortal, highlights controversial scientific and
religious ideas through the ages, symbolized
by a “fountain of youth” spouting LSD, shamanistic animals and Asian demonic avatars
as well as images from the Hubble telescope.
Simultaneously it honors those who have
advanced our knowledge of time and space,
including Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage,
who inspired modern computing, and
Brahmagupta, the 17th-century Indian math-ematician/astronomer credited with the concept
of zero and negative numbers.
The final tapestry, Allegory of the Prisoner’s
Dilemma, features a tower composed of monuments such as ancient pyramids, Roman aqueducts, Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia, Angkor Wat in
Cambodia and the Chrysler building — edifices
that celebrate human optimism and cooperation. But the artists also slyly include the Tower
of Babel as a symbol of hubris.
More than a decade ago, New York’s Lyonswier
Gallery displayed Hope’s first solo show. Since
2007, his sometimes interactive but always elaborately crafted, kinetic and digitally inspired art
has been represented by San Francisco’s Catharine
Clark Gallery. This past spring that gallery hosted
a re-installation of The Woulds, which the Hopes
co-created in 2017 for Jewish Folktales Retold:
Artist as Maggid at the Contemporary Jewish
Museum. It’s an immersive forest-like environment of wood and mirror sculptures enhanced
with ceramic birds, recorded birdsongs and
changing light effects to meld fantasy and reality.
“In a way, all my works are ‘centering’
devices,” Hope says. “They invite contemplation about the driving philosophies of our time:
spirituality, science and the disruptive changes
brought about by the internet.” n
One of Hope’s mirrored geodes that he says
are centering devices that force concentration. The viewer is never reflected in them
but the fragmented surroundings are.