Friday, March 23, 2018 through
Friday, April 13, 2018


University Center Gallery

Jonathan Latiano: Extinction is a Slow Spectacle

The artist will hold a discussion on Thursday, April 12, from 4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. in the University Center, Room 313.

The artist’s reception will follow the discussion and will take place from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. in the University Center Gallery

The Adelphi University Exhibitions Program is pleased to present Extinction is a Slow Spectacle, a new installation by artist Jonathan Latiano. For this exhibition, Latiano has transformed the University Center Gallery into a surreal environment that inspires contemplation about the course of existence and the process of its extinguishment. As visitors enter the gallery through concealing curtains, they are presented with a horrific spinning mass at the center of a blacked-out gallery. The central sculpture resembles a meteor or large clump of earth, and while it is painted entirely black, reflective shards on its surface project dynamic patterns of light throughout the gallery. Any visitor brave enough to inspect the surface of the sculpture will find a complex surface of various biological, geological, and fossilized forms. 

Extinction is a Slow Spectacle

Today extinction is a tragic and undeniable phenomenon that we have all borne witness to; however, this has not always been the case. The concept of extinction surfaced only 200 years ago and was a hotly debated topic among prominent scientists, including Charles Darwin. The idea that species could be entirely snuffed out seemed too awesome and too drastic a possibility at the time. We now know that extinction is indeed a reality, and it occurs in a relatively short period of geologic time. Latiano is not unaware of this. His use of the word “slow” purposefully frames the work and this concept of extinction within the human experience of time. Latiano’s use of the color black obviously refers to death, and upon closer examination, surface details of the black sculpture reveal fossils and shells, which also allude to fossil fuels and the human impact on the environment. 

Whether it’s the face of a cute panda or a piece of beautiful coral, extinction has become the primary guilt-inducing consequence of our treatment of our planet. As we are regularly reminded of yet another endangered species on the nightly news, we feel both guilty and helpless. Latiano has created a site to consider our relationship to the natural world, other species and time. To achieve this, the artist creates the opportunity to step out of reality and experience a surreal and imagined representation of a very real issue we all share, not only as humans, but more generally as organisms on planet earth.

Jonathan Latiano has been making art inspired by the natural world since he received his B.A. in Studio Art from Moravian College in 2006. Since then, he has exhibited in numerous solo and group public exhibitions in cities including New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington DC and London. His work has been featured in numerous local, national and international art publications including the Washington Post, In the Making Magazine and Urbanite Magazine. Latiano received his M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012, and shortly after won the Mary Sawyers Baker Prize in Art in 2013 which led to his first solo museum exhibition at the Baltimore Museum of Art. Latiano currently lives and works in Baltimore, Maryland.

Extinction is a Slow Spectacle will be on view from March 23 to April 13 at the Adelphi University UC Gallery. The artist will be giving talk on April 12 at 4 p.m. that will be followed by a closing reception for the exhibition.


» View the gallery photos

For more information, please contact:

Jon Duff
Exhibition and Art Collection Curator
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