In Feather-stitch Dani Leventhal brings together disparate elements that tether and tie some of the most basic and complex elements of life around us. Her interest in a garden can range from a wonder at growth as the simple consequence of light, water soil and care to a concern for sustenance, close observation and experiencing how we not only maintain our own lives but are connected to other lifefoms to a sly humor in the phallic forms of vegetables and how sexual uses could so easily coincide with dinner possibilities.
As some visitors know, Leventhal had planned to dissect song birds as part of her exhibition. Leventhals dissections are careful explorations that in their movements and gestures evidence interest, care and reverence. In the same way that she sets up her surveillance camera to translatethe multiplicity of vegetable growth into a representation, her dissections are intended to honor and understand the overlooked and marvelous in our midst.
In the course of planning this exhibition Leventhal and Gallery 400 learned that most birds, even common ones that a cat might drag into a houseor those that fly into glass buildings around the city, are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, a treaty and law that we have learned is little known by lay people but prohibits even the possession of protected birds. Though it is possible that Gallery 400 and Leventhal, if time had allowed, could have applied for permits to possess and dissect the protected birds, we halted the planned dissection. Leventhal is instead writing a list on the wall that names the birds covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Part of the processual nature of this exhibition is the ongoing writing of this list and Leventhals continuing work on her series of drawings on paper. While you explore the exhibition you are invited to ask questions, step up onto and lay on the Rammed Earth Platform, and come back and join us for a cook out screening in the Phallic Shaped Vegetable garden on Saturday September 6, 2005. -Lorelei Stewart, Director Gallery 400