Friday, February 8, 2013

The Paradise Circus premiering at LAAA

Amphybia the Froggish Lassy
I've been working on a new series of images since last fall. "The Paradise Circus" is an evolution of work I've done over the past few years; it combines vintage costume jewelry with human figures from my archives in a style that references children's fairy tales and Byzantine iconography. The images are accompanied with verse that helps to illuminate the concept (see below). 

The series playfully rejects canonical notions of heaven and hell,  meaning that perhaps sister Mary Joseph, my first grade teacher, might not have had any better insight about the hereafter than I did when she warned of the dangers of eternal damnation and hellfire.

(She really did talk about "hellfire," comparing it to holding your hand over a lit candle until your skin burned. "Hell is like that over your whole body for eternity!" she told us. We were 6 years old. We didn't want to go to Hell.)

Perhaps there's a gentler space between the world and the Light that the soul experiences which we haven't even considered, a rapture that we all endure each in our own way. A place that is, by its very nature, without fear, pain or hardship. The thought challenges some fundamental religious notions. I'm excited about this new series and look forward to doing more. 

The first five large format images of the series will be presented in a unique installation at the LA Art Association's Gallery 825 from February 23 until March 22. Opening reception is Saturday, Feb 23 from 6-9pm. Everyone welcome.

N!xau and Reynard

Upon the rocky isle we begin
Life of passions, life of fears
Simple minds with too few choices
All done in short years

Wondering what more there is
We search for the salve
We read the book, we sing the chant
It’s said that’s all we have

Behold the Paradise Circus
Glorious spectacle, resplendent sight
It’s the show that never ends
Astounding beauty inside the brightest, bright white light

See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All past wounds healed
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the answers revealed

 An exposition for one and all
Each performance made by you
Shaman says only for the righteous
But it plays for the wicked, too

Simple enough to get there
Just breathe your earthly last
Gaze into the stars above
Gymnasia the Dance Fly
And care not for life now passed

The mask becomes your character
You are what you want to be
What you believe you now become
Create your own destiny

See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the secrets unsealed
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the truths revealed

 Feel the embrace of ten-thousand
The warmth of open arms
A member of the family
Finally home, safe from harm

Milton’s book made us look
With pity on the Dark One
But his mind’s eye was just like ours
So, too, just like the Son’s

For Man is the measure of all things
Even as we enter the tent
Then the Circus plays, for days and days
‘til into the Light we’re sent

 See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the old habbits yield
See the Spectacle!  Be the Spectacle!
All the spoofs revealed

– The Paradise Circus