Installation view, Medalta Gallery
This Perfect Day is an exhibition of paintings by artists and family members Phyllis Plattner, Jessica Plattner, and Dean Smale. Named after Ira Levin’s 1970 dystopian novel, this exhibition explores different aspects of societal anxiety, ranging from war to climate change to existential doubt. With a broad range of styles, the paintings are connected by a common thread of social and political observation, supported by a deep commitment to the craft of painting.
A unique aspect of this project is that the three artists are family members: Phyllis Plattner is Jessica Plattner’s mother and Dean Smale’s mother-in-law. The close personal relationships between the artists enhance the connections between the works in the exhibition, with various thematic links crossing over from painting to painting. The theme of childhood reappears throughout the show, as a means to question social and economic disparities. In Phyllis Plattner’s Chronicles of War: Children, Velazquez’s famous Infanta Margarita appears in the central panel of a medieval-style gilded altarpiece, surrounded by news-images of child soldiers and child victims of various wars. The juxtaposition of art historical imagery and news media further highlights the injustices inherent in structures of power and privilege. In Dean Smale’s The Burial, a group of children look on innocently as workers dig into a mysterious subterraneous pit. The children, reminiscent of Renaisance putti, are impartial observers to the dark reality of adults. In Jessica Plattner’s Tristesse, a young girl contemplates a crashed military jet with dismay, her very presence in the scene intensifying the sense of danger.
July 23 - September 14, 2019
Medicine Hat. AB