Unseen is the inaugural exhibition of CULT, a new contemporary gallery for cutting edge work by emerging and established artists opening on November 9th, 2013 at 3191 Mission Street in San Francisco. CULT is founded by curator and performance artist Aimee Friberg. Unseen investigates subtle and hidden forces in the works of Miya Ando, Miguel Arzabe, Chris Duncan, Klea McKenna and Dean Smith. Abstraction is employed by each of these artists through sacred geometry, psychedelia, physical phenomena and ethereal light. The work is striking and satisfying, resonating a chord in the cultural psyche in that it satisfies a desire for order while situating itself aside from the material world.
The relationship between spirituality (or the spirit body) and abstraction is a recurring theme in art history. Creative experience, or the act of making, has links to the genesis of 'out of body' experience, which could be expressed as having transcendental, therapeutic, transformative or ecstatic processes.
For quite a few modernist artists, the relationship between abstraction, spirituality, psychoanalysis and the occult was overt and intentional. Hilma af Klint, Emma Kunz, and later Agnes Martin, made work animated by mystical beliefs and influenced by Theosophy. In 1948, Barnett Newman wrote an essay, "The Sublime Is Now," in which he asserts that artists were achieving the sublime by "making it out of ourselves, out of our feelings" rather than out of cathedrals. The artists in Unseen investigate the sublime through subtle forces, using experience that appeals to our sense of being or appealing to our sense of order with geometry and syncopation. Repetition, phenomenological investigations, the use of the body in space, and referencing the sacred in the natural world are themes and tools used to explore ones emotional, psychological, or physical experiences of these works.
The artists in Unseen approach abstraction and the immaterial in different ways. Duncan and Smith question perception and the psyche’s response through various phenomenological exercises, such as pulling our awareness to the periphery, tricking the connection between our retina and our brain, or alluding to the majestic through lo-fi fabrication (Duncan). Ando and McKenna use landscape, or the suggestion of, to give a sensation of transcendence or a portal to the sublime. Ando plays the alchemist, using steel and phosphorescence in her Shimenawa Sora Study to highlight the mysterious and ethereal connection humans have with nature and the spirit world, as used for centuries in the Shinto tradition. And finally, Arzabe explores the body as temple, using his own to form to illustrate a mapping of sacred geometry in his video Snowflake and with mud on the gallery walls in his installation Sierpinksi Gasket, 2013.
Unseen is up through December 21st, with a number of performances and artist talks peppered through out the run of the exhibition. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday noon to six pm. CULT is operated by Aimee Friberg Exhibitions, LLC. For more information on CULT programming, artists or the current exhibition email the gallery: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415-800-6604.