September 26 – October 31, 2010
Expanding on the idea of the Psychopomp, both as a potential guide to the afterlife and in the Jungian sense as a mediator between conscious and unconscious states, I wanted to approach this exhibition as broadly as possible. To allow for the referencing of Familiars and Shamanic escorts as well as push the boundaries of the inherent idea of transition between states of being/matter/consciousness resulting in a diversity of thinking and actualization. The artists and works in the exhibition range from the subtle and mischievous to the direct and succinct with a varied material lexicon.
The use of human, animal and other is prevalent, as seen in the works of Talia Shulze and Marisa Dipaola as a powerful companion or spirit guide offering safe passage, or protection. William Brovelli takes the creature to another level by creating a scenario where the animal, represented by a totem of sardine cans, is in fact tethered to the human by means of a contractual obligation. Chris Garcia also generates a totem for his cat which references the Egyptian burial rituals. The use of “the other” as a guide is revealed in the works of Paul Simmons’ Small Star and Arthur Bruso’s Orion, both making reference to the navigational techniques of early explorers and the ancient concept of the “Heavenly Body” looking down upon this world.
Windows into the other side, or another realm, appear in the re-staging of Spirit Photography by Carrie Fucile, and the obscured figure of Julia Forrest holding a mirror (opening a portal?) to another, or an inverse, reality. Andrew Bovasso provides a work which allows us to witness the slow progression of a doll/figure fading from this realm (positive) to the other side (negative) and become equalized in grey obscurity.
Observer and observed, object and subject, get confused and intertwined in these works. The other side, whether that’s a physical/material reality, or a state of consciousness, bleed into one another in this exhibition creating a host of possibilities. Whatever your destination; the Psychopomp is here to guide you.
—Vincent Como, curator
Psychopomp: An Introduction
Arriving just before death, then leading the soul to the afterlife is the role of the psychopomp. It is a beneficent spirit, a horrible creature or in various cultures an animal. Birds, fish, dogs and horses are common manifestations. In ancient Greek mythology, Hermes was called upon to bring Persephone back from Hades so that she could spend spring and summer with her mother Demeter. Afterwards, Hermes would usher her return to the underworld. Assigned the task by Zeus, Hermes became the guide of souls to the realm of the dead. Curious Matter is exploring the concept of the psychopomp and we have asked Vincent Como, as curator, to help us along this shadowy path.
Vincent Como is an artist as well as a curator. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York; received his education at the Cleveland Institute of Art, is co-director of Horse Trader Gallery and has held numerous visiting artist positions. His art is an inquiry into Black and our theme, Psychopomp, immediately conjures funereal imagery and darkness. An affinity between the artist and our subject seemed easy to discern, and we suspected Mr. Como would appreciate our investigation. But, it is the intensity and rigor of his art practice that spurred us to seek his point of view. Vincent Como’s work is informed by “the history and traditions of Color Theory, Physics, Alchemy, Heavy Metal, Religion and Mythology1.” He has found such richness within his exploration and understanding of black, that we were certain he could plumb the depths of our theme.
Each Curious Matter exhibition is evidence of the pursuit to understand and articulate our individual and collective experience of the world. We’re not setting out to illustrate an idea but actively investigate. Vincent Como’s ability to thoughtfully engage the subject matter along with his elegant aesthetic has resulted in an exhibition that is potent and varied. The conversation among the artworks is intimate in scale while commanding in impact. At Curious Matter we endeavor to present exhibitions that honor the intentions of artists, and through our themes, open a door for our audience to appreciate contemporary art. With Psychopomp, Vincent Como has presented us a collection that articulates these objectives in the finest possible manner. We’re extremely appreciative of his work and honored to present Psychopomp.
—Raymond E. Mingst • Arthur Bruso
Co-founders, Curious Matter
1: http://vincentcomo.com, “The Black Laboratory of Vincent Como,” page 1