Sunday, September 16, 2018

Ryn Wilson at The Front

Beyond inspiring major Mardi Gras parades like Bacchus, Proteus and Orpheus, the mythic deities of  antiquity remain fascinating today for the way they embody both cosmic powers and human foibles. They were a lot like us -- even goddesses had to deal with gender issues – which inspired Nola-based artist Ryn Wilson to create her own mythology that not only mingled antiquity and futurism, but did so from an eco-feminist perspective. The result is Mirroria, a kind of multi-media mirror world replete with its own mythic figures and tribes, and the dreams and challenges they embody. They resemble us for the way their lust for power, wealth and glory caused them to lose sight of the natural world until, one day, the nourishing waters they took for granted ran dry. As they withered, a heroine goddess named Jun saw that their grandiose hubris was the root cause of the drought, and used persuasion, magic and self-sacrifice to restore their place in the natural order.

It is an ambitious project that transforms the gallery into a kind of reliquary of artifacts from a parallel universe, including fashions, furnishings, rituals and lifestyles seen in a digital video Mirroria (still, top), while illustrating how a technologically adept society nearly destroyed itself before transforming into an ecological, femme-centric culture that remained rooted in ancient shamanic and nature-based traditions. Wilson is not the first to fuse elements of classical mythology and science fiction, but here she brings her cinematic flair to bear on works that illustrate the various tribes of Mirroria including the technocratic “Geometrics” administrative class as well as “Mystic Nomads,” “Tropic Warriors” (above) and the “Zodiacs.” Wilson says “Mirroria is a body of work” that “uses feminist ideas to transform the current cultural narrative” by challenging “the worldview that war, domination, and greed are necessary to run the world.” Although it can also be argued that powerful women have historically contributed to making our world the mess that it is today, Wilson's audacious and cohesive visual counter-narrative at least gives us something to think about at a time when mindless hubris seems more prevalent than ever. ~Bookhardt /  Mirroria: Mixed Media Installation by Ryn Wilson, Through Oct. 7th, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980;