Cosmic Love, curated by Anne Trauben at Drawing Rooms, presents seven contemporary artists' consideration of the spiritual as it applies to their work. Spirituality is part of the artistic practice of nearly every culture. In fact, in many cultures it is the only subject of their artistic activity and is intrinsic to cultural production. Spirituality accompanies much of the discourse of Modernism from the Suprematists through Duchamp, Barnett Newman and beyond. The seven artists presented here each take a personal approach to the subject of the Spiritual.
Sky Kim’s complex and painstakingly executed watercolors reflect the meditative state in which they were created and are intended to promote a similar state in the viewer. They are beautiful in a profound way-their effect is part enchantment and part encounter with the sublime. They suggest a cosmos which serves to draw the viewer into a deep reflection on time and being.
Like Ms. Kim, Bill Stamos’ investigation of the sublime is intended to impart a meditative state. It is, however, created spontaneously with a large degree of improvisation. Stamos’ keen sense of color and light is at the service of a transcendent beauty contained entirely in his work; his shamanistic approach to mark-making creates a coherent chaos.
Mollie Thonneson’s “Poseidon Adventure” creates a submerged world of contemplation. Her installation, consisting of sewn together recycled lingerie and fabric remnants, is intended as an extended consideration of feminine sexuality. Through the formal exercise of color, design, and pattern, Ms. Thonneson imparts a sense of playfulness when combined with her titles, lending her work a subtle ironic humor.
Maggie Ens’ large construct takes up an entire wall in gallery two and dominates the room. Detritus of post-industrial production is both medium and subject and is both an indictment of such, as well as a somewhat playful commentary. The installation threatens to overwhelm the viewer, but the humor displayed in her choice of components keeps it from being oppressive. A video opposite the installation shows the artist in the act of creating a similar installation.
James Pustorino’s drawing appears to be a diagram of some chaotic process which is on the quantum or cosmic scale. Mr. Pustorino’s title “Invisible Eye Overseeing the Sea” gives no clue to its subject and demonstrates a non-rational approach to mark-making. It’s like some Mad Professor’s drawing intended to explain the inexplicable, inviting the viewer down a, particularly colorful rabbit hole.
This brings us by a commodious vicus of recirculation to the work of Anne Trauben in gallery one. Composed of ceramic, paper and lights, her installation suggests a cosmos perhaps in the process of formation. Although presented as an installation, the artist intends each element as a discreet work and agreeable to any and all permutations. Ms. Trauben's work combines dynamism with an undeniable delicacy, thus instilling the viewer with a sense of awe combined with whimsey. In this work, the viewer's internal reality becomes interchangeable with external reality, a concept central to alchemy, as well as many other mystical traditions.
Cosmic Love continues through October 11 at Drawing Rooms 926 Newark Avenue Jersey City. The exhibit features drawing, painting, sculpture, installation and fiber art by artists Anne Trauben, Bill Stamos, James Pustorino, Jill Scipione, Maggie Ens, Mollie Thonneson and Sky Kim. Cosmic Love is curated by Anne Trauben.
Bruce Halpin is an artist living in Jersey City. Read Bruce's bio here and view his artwork here.