Generally, I like to start these newsletters with a story... but that comes after the first paragraphs. Patience grasshoppers... * First I'd like to remind you that The Secret Life Of Plants at Freight and Volume - 97 Allen St, NY, NY closes on September 4th. If you haven't seen this show, you are missing a gem. I'm honored to be sharing space with some of my art heroes. * I'd also like to announce my inclusion in the exhibition Plant Cure at Central Booking - 21 Ludlow St, NY, NY - in collaboration with The New York Center of Medicine. Opening September 6th, 6-8pm, 184 Project Space christens its new space in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, September 14th with the exhibition MIS. And now for the story... An archetypal Wild Woman of Irish Myth, Mis was overcome by grief when she discovered the fallen body of her father after his attempt to invade Ireland. Filled with rage, she rose into the air and flew off to distant mountains where she sprouted both fur and feather - transformed into a formidable beast. In a state of madness, she traversed the landscape, leaving a wake of destruction and fear. The tale concludes with Mis transformed once more. This time by a being who embodied kindness and nourishment. Interactions with this being allowed Mis to return to human form in a state of consciousness and self-reflection. In The Art of Enchantment, Sharon Blackie states, “Sometimes, madness seems like the only possible response to the insanity of the civilized world; sometimes, holding ourselves together is not an option, and the only way forwards is to allow ourselves to fall apart. As the story of Mis shows, madness can represent an extreme form of initiation, a trigger for profound transformation… [In Mis’s] brutal descent into darkness … all illusions are stripped away and old belief systems evaporate… [Only then can Mis] reclaim a more authentic sense of identity and belonging.” This Heroine’s Tale falls into the category of Monomyth, a term coined by Joseph Campbell who believed that Myths served cautionary and instructional purposes for ancient and contemporary cultures alike. In response to the current state of political unrest and cultural turmoil, artists in this exhibition herald the powerful processes of transformation. Barb Smith encapsulates these moments in fascinatingly mutable material, while Nadia Haji Omar converts a fixture of the home into a Foucaultian display of heterotrophic space. Graciela Cassel’s haunting video speaks of the inner workings of the mind and Miryana Todorova embeds ideas into undulating fabrics, allowing the landscape to act upon them. Jung Hee Mun uses real-time computer mapping and object tracking technology to convert a room into a mind-altering reality, Pik-Shuen Fung shadows and participates in the bodily transformations of her grandmother, Leah Dixon follows information from statistic to propaganda, to structure. Alison Kuo dedicates her creations to her recently deceased grandmother - a pioneer shape-shifter, while Julia Oldham's images embody the transient nature of humanity. 184 Project Space was launched as a curatorial and social practice platform in 2014 by Donna Troy Cleary. We welcome curatorial proposals.
Coyote Woman in the Cascades, photo collage and drawing, Julia Oldham, 2017