Sunday, January 28, 2018

Angela King's Wisdom of the Swamp Goddess and Kristin Meyers' Sanctity Extended

Although many unusual art events have coincided with the Prospect.4 international art triennial, few are quite as unexpected as this Wisdom of the Swamp Goddess (installation, pictured) where large sheet metal paleolithic Venus of Willendorf replicas appear on the facade of 826 Gravier St. in the heart of the business district. Framed by cascades of cypress bark and sacred symbols based on the archetypal female trinity of the maiden, the mother and the crone, they are the work of gallerist and arts activist Angela King and her spiritual artist sisters, Elizabeth Conway, Sus Corez, Elena Walker, Elizabeth Eckman, Janet Baus, Nancy Gonsalves and Julie Jacobs – women for whom goddess spirituality is the original “old time religion.” King says Prospect.4's Lotus in Spite of the Swamp title reminded her of the ancient cypress trees of the Talisheek swamp that she experiences as “powerful wise beings...” who always impel her to return, “to be there, among these ancient earth mothers.”

Kristin Meyers' Sanctity Extended expo is inspired by Europe's Ex-Voto Anatomici grottos, and local equivalents like our St. Roch Chapel -- places where body parts are immortalized as icons of healing.  Here Meyers' array of bound figurative and reliquary forms reflect her own personal archetypal trinity expressed as her Introspection, Resilience and Devotion  found object works. Introspection -- a white fabric and lace female torso with surreal anatomical protrusions affixed with gauzy white wrappings – is emblematic for its exploration of the ancient art of binding as a way of focusing spiritual energies. An adjacent grotto fashioned from the gallery building's antique brick walls recreates a sense of the ancient Roman Catholic catacombs where the bones of saints and well-connected mortals were preserved for posterity. Although Meyer's Sanctity exhibition, like King's Swamp Goddess installation, reflect traditions handed down from antiquity, both perfectly complement our carnival season's celebration of ancient deities like Bacchus, Proteus, Iris and the like. ~Bookhardt / Wisdom of the Swamp Goddess: Monumental Multimedia Installation at 826 Gravier St., Through Feb. 28, The Goddess Project, 826 Gravier St.; Sanctity Extended: Sculpture and Mixed Media Installation by Kristin Meyers, Through Feb. 3, Barrister's Gallery, 2331 St. Claude Ave, 710-4506.