Domains, Parameters and Wanderings
Domains, Parameters and Wanderings ties into the concept of "space, referring to the physical and constitutional circumstances of the art in this exhibition, as well as the undertakings of the artists and the experiences of its viewers.
Through the art of a select group of contemporary artists including
Anastasia Pelias, Jennifer Odem, Christina McPhee, Allan Jones, Colleen Ho and Chyrl Savoy, this exhibition aims to illuminate the connections between art, space and consciousness.
DOMAINS, PARAMETERS AND WANDERINGS
"O reason, reason, abstract phantom of the waking state, I had already expelled you from my dreams, now I have reached a point where those dreams are about to be- come fused with apparent realities: now there is only room here for myself.
LOUIS ARAGON, SURREALIST POET/SOCIAL REALIST WRITER
Due to the enduring popularity of Star Trek, the world has been bequeathed the idea that space is "the final frontier. With every extraterrestrial exploration and discovery NASA makes, this would seem to be the case; however, space is resolutely not the final frontier. It is simply the key with which man may unlock the door to the true final frontier" consciousness itself. While there are many reasons to explore space, the ultimate reason man aims high powered telescopes into the dark expanses of space and sends sophisticated crafts to distant worlds is to find proof of other conscious beings and the origin of consciousness in the universe. It is a daunting task to say the least, considering that man, the seeker, is part and parcel of the universe he searches. As man evolves, he begins to understand more fully that space and consciousness are inseparable. The irony of this situation is that man must search the far-flung reaches of space to find the origins of something operating right behind the nose on his face. This is a complex scenario that seems so simple on the surface, as is the artwork in this exhibition that exemplifies a strain of art that is now roughly one hundred years into its ascent into western culture. The art form is known as nonrepresentational abstraction, and within this exhibition, space has been cleared for a select group of contemporary artists who are carrying on the still-nascent tradition of nonrepresentational abstraction in profound and haunting ways.
The term nonrepresentational abstraction refers to artwork that is self-contained, refusing facile portrayals of physical reality beyond the boundaries of the artwork itself. This definition is incomplete, however, because nonrepresentational abstraction cannot escape the associative prowess of the conscious mind. In exploring this exhibition, some works may seem eerily familiar. This may prompt the viewer to make associations based on his/her personal memories, ideas and emotions. Others work may seem completely alien. This is because these art works operate on a continuum between recognition and ambiguity. In essence, nonrepresentational abstraction defies definition; the individual works in this exhibition might as well be labeled uniquely for each viewer.
Defiance of classification is the hallmark of superb nonrepresentational abstraction. Such work offers no easy viewing and little in familiar forms, which the eye is trained to casually ignore. It is forcibly obscure. In confronting nonrepresentational abstraction, the viewer necessarily becomes half of the artistic equation. The work demands that the viewer question what he/she is viewing, allowing for uncertainty and possibly awe to take hold of him/her in the face of something sublime and inscrutable. Immersion in such work creates a physical/mental/emotional space " a domain of pure consciousness that is open to paradox. It is a space where meaning is present and absent simultaneously. This immersive process may be unsettling, but time spent on such an undertaking expands one's consciousness of reality in subtle yet extraordinary ways. In the dawning of the 21st century, which is marred by glibness, obstinacy and short cuts to thinking, hard won experience such as this should be cherished.
All of the artists in this exhibition have had this same experience; hence, they have chosen to take up the mantle of nonrepresentational abstraction. Anastasia Pelias creates paintings composed of sinuous lines that loop and wander across an un-modulated color field. In creating her series Automatics, Pelias shuts her eyes and draws to the measured counts of classical music in order to achieve a two-dimensional image that exists between her own will to create and the dynamics of chance. Jennifer Odem offers the viewer something almost recognizable which makes her work all the more mysterious for the gesture; she creates sculptures that occupy spaces somewhere between ideal form and utility (a curtain or a table), natural materials and synthetics, vulnerability and strength. Through these works, Odem prompts the viewer to question his/her relationship with familiar objects and their physical and philosophical histories. Christina McPhee creates frenetic, gestural drawings with inks on paper, which mimic the play of light and shadow cast from the windows in her studio onto the walls she works on. Her works are revelatory responses to a specific time and place and the intimate relationship engendered between the artist and her locus of creation. Allan Jones also draws inspiration from nature. Figures reminiscent of sticks and leaves (along with fields like bodies of water or stretches of sky) emanate, recede and float across indeterminate spaces like thoughts across the mind. Visual multidimensionality and paradox abound in these lush yet cerebral paintings. The parameters of Colleen Ho's oeuvre are simple: tease out the fibers from a sheet of paper in a feat of reverse embroidery to form a pattern that mimics nature. This solemn yet generative work acts as a visual analogue to the unified field theories of contemporary physics, which posit that all matter and energy emanate from the same field. Finally, Chyrl Savo's work is primeval and monumental (remarkable, considering their actual size and materials). Savoy�€�s paper, wood and metal sculptures directly address mans emotional relationship with space in the present while echoing his ancient past. These sculptures demand that the viewer think critically about where humanity has come from, how far it has come, and where it stands now. However, with all of these cues for viewing this art, the viewer must keep in mind that these are aspects of the work" one must not confuse the forest for the trees.
To continue, Domains, Parameters and Wanderings ties into the concept of "space,�€� referring to the physical and constitutional circumstances of the art in this exhibition, as well as the undertakings of the artists and the experiences of its viewers. Consequently, the concept of "space�€� and all of its guises are essential to the conceit of this exhibition. The artists showcased have created art that inhabits, creates and/or re-imagines space. While all art participates in space, the main function of nonrepresentational abstraction is to cultivate space. Hence, it is important for the viewer to be conscious of the highly activated artistic domains within this exhibition, which require active participation on a physical, mental and emotional level.
In conclusion, consciousness is humanit's most precious possession, and we recognize that consciousness emanates from space. We exist in "space and are composed of this sublime field of eminence. Should we not marvel at the idea of space being conscious of itself through us? Could we not say that we dwell in the domain of consciousness? These questions are central to the art and the experience of wandering through this exhibition. To this end, we come closer to the beginning of everything.
REGGIE MICHAEL RODRIGUE, ARTIST/WRITER AND CREATOR OF THE DAILY VISIONARY POST