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Beauty Plus Pity

October 2, 2009 - November 15, 2009

Beauty Plus Pity is a fresh, new exhibition by emerging Canadian artist duo Duke & Battersby.

The new and recent video installations featured in the exhibition attract, repel, and astonish. Duke & Battersby’s episodic video works bring together found video footage, simple animation, anthropomorphic animals, drugs, lessons in existential philosophy, and song to explore such universal concerns as faith, understanding, depression, isolation, and of course, why humans suck. The video Beauty Plus Pity offers dark, humorous, otherworldly vignettes while its star actors, taxidermied animal “spirit guides,” greet and confront the gallery visitor from the real, furry, yet very dead, animal domain.

Duke & Battersby’s artwork is edgy, honest, and strange. The complex, colorful, and contradictory worlds that the artists share with us are their own unique creations, beautiful and pitiful in turn, yet we may all find something of ourselves there.

Watching a video by Emily Vey Duke and Cooper Battersby is a little like entering a ménage à trois where the sex, while fumbling, is always good, and the pillow talk is even better.

-Jason McBride, Cinema Scope Magazine

[Beauty Plus Pity] is the closest we can get to a definition of art.

-Vladimir Nabokov

About the Artists

Cooper Battersby (Penticton, Canada) received his diploma in Computer Programming at Okanagan College and completed his Masters at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Emily Vey Duke (Halifax, Canada) received her BFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and completed her Masters at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Their work has been exhibited in galleries and at festivals in North and South America and throughout Europe, including the Walker Art Center, the Banff Centre, the Vancouver Art Gallery, YYZ, tthe New York Video Festival, The European Media Arts Festival in Osnabruck), Impakt (Utrecht), and the Images Festival in Toronto. Duke & Battersby were recently selected as one of “Ten Artists to Watch” by Canadian Art.