WINGS OF DESIRE
Review by Stephen Gambello
LESLIE FORD "Solar Snapshot 2",2023 JANE FIRE "The Perfect Mate 2", 2023
September 27, 2023
The exhibition “Wings of Desire”, from a concept curated by Priska Juschka, details the hunger, the very ache, of fulfillment. Desire offers the opportunity to maintain the maximum efficiency of a conscience: apotheosis!
Leslie Ford's “Solar Snapshot 2” (2023) is an image of what could be an overlapping of a blurred pair of wings; every possible permutation of a position this undefined winged creature can perform is presented in this image. Ford holds in abeyance the sum totality of the furious activity of two wings. Here is not only the wings, but also the comprehensive shape of desire.
The imagery of Jane Fire's winged butterfly literally manifests the theme of this exhibition. Fire's “The Perfect Mate 2 (from the Origins of Species Series)” (2023) presents us with the juxtaposition of science with nature, as a half-butterfly is juxtaposed with its mirror image, becoming a perfect specimen of itself. The desire for genetically engineered perfection is fulfilled in this image, as even the spots on each of the butterfly's wings match exactly. The ever-present ruler, indicating scale, also reduces the creature to a clinical symbol, an equation that is being solved in a passion-less analytical way. The innate beauty of the butterfly, symbolic of freedom and transformation, becomes grounded in impassionate intellect.
JEREMIAH CHECHIK "Birth 1", 2023 HENRY BIBER "Portrait of a Rogue Fruit", 2023
Jeremiah Chechik's “Birth 1” (2023) consolidates the Universe into a sepia-colored whirlpool/vortex of worlds, constellations, solar systems, galaxies, and even nebulae. We sense the Big Bang theory is quoted here as a concise, womb-like fetus. Chechik imagines the Universe as a living organism, one that also experienced a birth, albeit a unique one -- a limitless, transcendent birth into its own existence. The two glowing, diffuse areas hovering behind the gaseous center become the expanding flight of said universe. An Expanding Universe (theory), then, is the resultant action of the Big Bang.
“Portrait of a Rogue Fruit” (2023) is Henry Biber's restrained, dignified positing of his own iteration of Wings of Desire, presented in the form of massive, dirigible-like structure floating over a psychological nocturnal landscape.
Here, desire is powerfully maintained as a thoughtful potential. These structures are a chrysalis of a sort. Zen is, at its core, a practice of profound patience, and Biber's works manifest the Zen spirit. It is the passion of being, of knowing, of doing; yet all of that energy is hibernating within the practice of humility, balance, and peaceful mindfulness. These enigmatic objects of a mysterious alphabet are the ciphers of great power, hence the seemingly humongous scale, reflecting the importance of pre-eminent thought and knowledge. Biber imagines the shape of wisdom -- and ably, even spectacularly, realizes the endless manifestations possible. Biber's own desire takes wing in the action of transcendental self-reflection.
Carol Boram-Hays's "Be Still My Beating Heart" (2023) is a metal sculpture that resembles a disproportionate discombobulated figure desiring to find its own form. Its torso is realized in cast concrete and painted in orange acrylic. This entity is yearning and reaching out to find its own final flight into stability, to an erect verity. The shock of orange paint on the concrete may be a signal or harbinger of ultimate success and transformative fertility. Look deep into the orange paint and see the subtle indication of a sunrise, the potential of a new day.
Carol Borham-Hays 'Be Still my Beating Heart' FRANCIE LYSHAK "Ruckus", 2023
With her painting, “Ruckus”, (2023) Francie Lyshak indicates the hyper-aggressive process upon which two sides of a painting struggle to exist simultaneously. This painting manifests these words:
Aspiration, Realization, Resolution; whereas the peach-colored right side is the Aspiration, the green-colored left side is Realization. Together, they synthesize as Resolution. The spatula-applied paint on the right side is very fine and tight, leaving very little of the smooth under surface exposed. This is the action of aspiration, as fed by desire. However, the spatula applied green paint on the left side is the realization in action, as the even more harsh strokes are gently balanced by a more prevalent smooth application of areas of paint; but they are applied on top of the harsh spatula marks, not underneath. These smooth applications of paint could be the very last (final) word in this pictorial statement. It is in this technique that Lyshak dramatizes the transcendence of the measured, balanced composing of painting. Therein lies the resolution and in Resolution the artist's wings (her Aspiration) take flight.
“Bump2” by Edward Jackson (2019-2021) develops an ascendancy of duality. In Zen transcendence, the ego is quashed. In the vertical configuration of two sculptural classic Greek busts, the Gemini quality of the human is harmonized. The two heads represent a stabilized, transcendent peacefulness. Jackson, then, De-Geminzes the Gemini, the Duality of man. Jung's duality is disarmed here. He also juxtaposes the elegance of high culture, the epitome of intellect (in the form of the busts) with the harsh, clunky, rigidity of the pollution-bearing automobile. In achieving just the right placement of the busts over the monstrosity of these auto fragments, he achieves his desire to fly into a utopia of non-egoism. These busts become angel faces (cherubs) as wings.
Nana Gregory's Ballycastle, “Ireland” demonstrates the desire to "find" objects, and, through knowledge and thoughtful contemplation, crop a "desired" composition. It is the educated eye of Gregory that creates a pattern, by way of her decisive censoring of found objects. She pinpoints the successful transcendent order within the chaos. She flies above the randomness of existence and brings about a very deliberate statement of image fulfillment.
In desire, we fleetingly experience a subtle indication, a vision, of ultimate resolution. Yet, try as we may, we never ultimately achieve that resolution. It is in the processional of yearning, throughout one's life, that feeds, reconfirms, and maintains our sentience. To desire is to be....
Desire informs our flight, taking wing into transcendence.
Icarus is a cautionary tale in aspiring too dangerous, destructive heights. Yet, the artist secretly knows not to be afraid, looking upwards unwaveringly, for, ultimately, there is no failure in melted wings.
Edward Jackson 'Bump2' and Nana Gregory 'Ballycastle, Ireland 10. 2006' All images courtesy of Lichtundfire 2023