A plague of politics

Artists aim to depict society’s economic and environmental flaws in the six prints of their exhibit

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge’s exhibit The Plague draws comparisons between modern day consumerism and the Biblical plagues.
Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge’s exhibit The Plague draws comparisons between modern day consumerism and the Biblical plagues.

The plagues have moved out of the Bible and into society.

The message played out in Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge’s exhibit The Plague doesn’t do so shyly.

Afflicted by the ignorance of society, Condé and Beveridge’s prints thrust the chaos of the corrupt and crumbling world to the forefront of the viewer’s attention.

But this only happened once I got up close to each of the prints on the walls. Immense details appeared in each of the figures, all of which were digitally composed photo-based prints.

When I first looked at the titular piece in the exhibit, I didn’t know what to make of the swarms of dead frogs infiltrating an airport gate. The intriguing colours used in the print to depict the decaying animals were fascinating to look at.

I noticed the corporate men in suits, counting their money, reading their Wall Street Journals and observing the stocks which had replaced the airport’s departure schedule.

These men were surrounded by pictures of war, environmental destruction, violence and political corruption as the media is featured at the forefront of it all.

In this piece, Condé and Beveridge managed to successfully depict the idea of today’s consumerism being like a plague on humanity — a theme also present in the other prints in the gallery.

The Fall of Water evoked a similar, busy style but was visually darker and more disturbing. The artists’ message of protest against the capitalization of global water supplies remained consistent with their own personal experiences with political resistance.

The print features a throng of distorted and distressed people, dead sea animals and waste descending into a pit surrounded by, but without access to water.

Images of a woman straining to grasp what appears to be a last droplet of water, paired with the appearances of name-brand labels for Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Dasani and Nestlé particularly struck me since those drink products are seen so frequently.

The sense I got from the exhibit is that global financial powers and capitalist economic systems are plaguing our society at the expense of the common good.

If Condé and Beveridge’s implications in this exhibit ring to be true, the plague is everywhere in the world right now and people should be aware.

Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge’s The Plague is on exhibit in the Frances K. Smith Gallery of the Agnes Etherington Art Centre until Feb. 3.

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