unearth is a poetic exploration of the function, intention and transformation of art within the context of ritual and sacred spaces.
The human experience is defined by milestones, moments that alter a perception of being. Ceremonies enable the individual to pass on to the next phase of their journey. Rites of initiation have been used throughout human history to guide, educate and enlighten the participant as they transition to fuller, higher beings. Rituals of the rite alter the physical and psychological experience. The tools used in ritual embody the power of the supernatural while opening the door to the otherworld. In many cultures, caverns, caves and rock formations were believed to be sacred places where rituals could be performed.
unearth is an installation that stages the three phases of initiation: separation, transition, and incorporation. The participant is the creator of the exhibition and becomes the passive observer in the experience. The participant enlightens the viewer on the origins and hidden truths through the mytho-poetic narrative embedded in the installation. The audience is active as the witness to the final phase: incorporation of the participant. This is the guide for the witness as they embark on their journey of unearthing.
Entering the space, one must be removed from their place in a perceived reality and cleanse themselves of the residue of the human world. The witness is presented before the ORIGINS of the rite, five totem aluminum castings, that represent the sequence of events that will unfold before them. The witness places themselves within the mytho-poetic narrative of the passive participant.
Embarking on the descent into the abyss, the participant confronts the ordeals that reside within. The witness enters a menacing darkness, unfamiliar within the formal context of the space. There are no objects, no markers, no connections to be made. Death is symbolized by darkness.
This section is made from void. In darkness, the witness shifts from the external to internal, unveiling an unseen reality. The sense of sight, masked in darkness, is heightened to see beyond the physical to the metaphysical world. Light is the key as it leads the witness out of darkness and into the next phase of the rite.
In the transition phase of the rite, secrets are brought to light, and knowledge is granted to the participant. With this knowledge, the participant understands their greater function as they move towards a shift in being. The light symbolizes knowledge and the intellect.
Entering the threshold of the liminal, the witness is confronted by nine large-scale drawings on hand-formed paper castings. The structure of the passage evokes the sensation of traveling through a vortex, the experience of being cut off from the outside world, and entering into a powerful place where one can experience an altered state of consciousness.
First, the paper objects are displayed without light. The path extends out, revealing the fragility of the forms and the information that resides within. The objects return to darkness. Monumental, monolithic, deceptive in nature. From a distance, the surface appears to be stone, hard and durable, eroded by force and time. The light reveals the true nature of the objects.
They are soft, torn, weathered with holes. The texture is emphasized with white, and the marks wrap around the low relief. The work is the embodiment of transformation through the recycling of material. The source of the fiber comes from failed attempts and past conquest. The failures are reformed, transformed, and elevated in a way that reflects the rite of passage.
The passage shifts the witness environment to the ritualized place of the passive participant. Time and space in the ritual realm are removed, compressing the past, present, and future into one plane. The role of the witness is not to be passive before the forms, but to discover the whispering magical forces within them. The drawings are the manifestation of a ritualized action of the participant: reflections of reflective forms. The images invert, deconstruct, duplicate, and compile on top of one another as they take the form of the surface. Figures evoke the motion of beings that resided within, guiding the viewer as they transition through tunnels to deeper networks of the mind.
THE PIT: “BEING DARK AND LIGHT AT ONCE”
The witness stands before the pit. The material is dark, shattered, and distorted. Light bounces from the surface revealing the reflections of the form. Gazing into the reflection, the witness sees beyond the bodily identity to the state of another, opening the window to the otherworld. It is center. Revealing the reflections of each stage in the exhibition. Light animates within to without, activating the intention of the participant. The pit forms a gravitational pull, conjuring forces to its center. It is the anchor, present at every angle.
The illusion of depth in the circle radiates from the charcoal, symbolizing fire. It is the embodiment of transformation: all things come from fire, all things return to fire. It annihilates time. Passing through the flame transcends the human condition. The circle symbolizes the return to unity from multiplicity of all matter and universal harmony; the ultimate state of oneness. It encloses the beings within the circumference, defining the space and protecting the physical and psychic content from external perils.
Bound in the circle are fifteen metallic forms. The objects are a manifestation of desperation, an attempt to rationalize the irrational. They are constructed by the destruction and reconstruction of the contemplative state. Morphed through the process of their making, the intention of the participant is carved into the base, and activated in the process of making. The aluminum castings reveal the origins of the trials, and are key to the participant’s initiation.
THE MOUND: “FUNCTION AND ANIMATION OF OBJECTS”
The Mound erupts, discharging earthly and other worldly ground. Rising from the dirt and coal are rusted fragments and raw material: discarded, forgotten, buried and lost in the system. The stakes, screw, pipes and hitches were extracted from uselessness and elevated to tools for the initiation of the participant.
The mound reveals the found objects that were veiled in the large hand-formed paper of the passage. They form the depth; they are the void, the window through the blemishes of the surface. The material is presented in the state they were found, buried. The moundinvites the witness to experience their origins, symbolizing the end of a cycle that returns to the initial state of being. The witness is before the artifacts of the trials.
SHIFT IN BEING
All forms of initiation involve a revelation of sacred or secret knowledge, transitioning the individual to the “knowing ones.” Entering the level of understanding the participant acquires a new language along with a new perception of the world. Language allows for reason and self-reflection. The human construction of language depicts the world through the distinction between I and me, and is formed through patterns of intent that define the basic categories of our world and the way we arrange objects within it.
Shift in being is the embodiment of transformation of the initiation, the light at the end of the spectacle. The participant was removed, destroyed, and broken: tried and exhausted at every stage. The trials shattered the persona, making the participant receptive to external forces. The installation is the biproduct of the tribulations. The objects embodied the knowledge attained at each phase and the reconstructed remains of the shattered ego.
Distorted, enlightenment eludes a false sense of balance. The space of revelation is rigid. Shift in being is the final trial in the form of drypoints: twelve series in editions of eight equating one hundred prints. Each of the twelve series represent a mode of being, together forming the shift in being.
They are divided, separated, and grouped in fours. The units evoke the sense of order as the installation deconstructs the formation of order in organized chaos. The arrangement of prints mirrors one another, whispering echoes throughout its being. The arrangement of images enhances the angular nature of the wall.Shift in being represents the duality of the self: two perceptions that form one being.