JEFFREY BEEBE  Red Soil Boys: The Tyranny of Manifest Fairnesses  September 8-October 15, 2016

artist website

With a profound debt to the world-building language of Dungeons & Dragons and the fantasy/science fiction genres, Jeffrey Beebe has been obsessively drawing and writing out his world of Refractoria—a comprehensive imagino-ordinary world that is equal parts autobiography and pure fantasy—for the last fifteen years.

During this latest adventure in Refractoria, Beebe explores a brutal campaign of conflict that took place between the culturally "sophisticated" Red Soil Boys and the Horned Rovers clans, an ancient nomadic culture located in an area of vast prairies known as the Coarselands.  For decades, it was routine for a small party of the 'Boys to send a hunting party into the Coarselands with the goal of bringing down an Uncle.  (These Uncles, man-beast hybrids, were the long-lived spiritual and cultural authorities of the Rover clans, and each clan had its own Uncle.)  Often, little came of the expeditions as the Rovers and their Uncles were frequently too clever to be easily caught by the gin-swilling huntsmen. However in November 1126, Horace Whimpie—the son of a prominent Red Soil Boy—was killed in an ambush by a clan of Rovers.  This event brought the assembled might of the 'Boys to the Coarselands the following spring, and the Tyranny of Manifest Fairnesses was unleashed—a wholesale campaign of warfare and slaughter against the Uncles and Rovers.  Though many battles were bravely fought, the Rovers were brought to the precipice of extinction.

The exhibition includes maps showing the Coarselands and several of the holdings of the Red Soil Boys, including their gargantuan clubhouse known as the Fastness.  A large informational diagram illustrating the Uncles defeated in the Tyranny is on display, as well as other bits of ephemera, and many of the photographs of the 'Boys taken during the Tyranny.

Regarding the culture of the Red Soil Boys, Beebe has said in an email discussing the subject:

"...Imagine an entire society of Bobby Knights and Mikes (both Pences and Ditkas) all telling each other how great they are while simultaneously trying to hamstring each other with poisoned blades.  These are many of the people I came in contact with growing up in Indiana, from the heroic kid who took over his father's lucrative engineering firm at the ripe age of 24, to the alcoholic duplex-living UPS truck-loader who told me--while he isn't racist--he'd 'never fuck a black girl' (imagine a less polite utterance) because what would his friends think? All of those guys . . . they are the Red Soil Boys."