The Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012 at the American Embassy in Libya mobilized media frenzy and dignitaries the world over. Obama and his chiefs of staff were pressed with the million-dollar questions: To retaliate, or not? Was this Al-Qaeda related? Or (most delusional of them all), some Democratic spearheaded conspiracy? Each complex demand made all the more convoluted by Republican vs. Democrat, in-fighting. Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, responded fervently to questions posed by either party line at the Benghazi hearings held in January of this year.
As immortalized by the AP press, Hillary Clinton response is captured in action. Stern animation, fist in air, offering clarity for events and the need for victim’s atonement- Clinton is unwavering. This totemic tragedy is significant to say the least. Yet, disparagingly has vanished into the oblivion of current events (government shutdown, anyone?) and flashiness of celebrity and pop culture alike.
Within its closing days at Ambach and Rice is Eric Yahnker’s solo exhibition “Ebony & Benghazi.” Eponymously named for the piece of striking photographic juxtaposition: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Benghazi hearings and the always amiable, admirable Stevie Wonder. Body posture and framing are mirrored, yet the attitudes couldn’t be further apart. Yahnker simultaneously introduces his overtly farcical sensibility masquerading within supreme execution and confident decisions. Beneath is a bleakness that requires the viewer to ponder and “Never Forget (an apt action and name of a wood carved stool sculpture, also included within this exhibition).”
Throughout, Yahnker’s exhibition, iconographic identities and symbolism are displaced by eerie, even comical twists (Superman with breasts? Pervy Norman Rockwell?). The compositional and technical beauty is alluring. But, the intellect and humor layered thick within each piece is the true draw.
For more information on this exhibition visit Ambach and Rice, Los Angeles.
Contributed by Bianca Guillen.