Casey Jex Smith, Zagyg and Minions, 2010, Pen and ink on paper, 11×8.5 inches. Courtesy of Allegra LaViola Gallery.
Allegra LaViola Gallery is pleased to present Doomslangers: A Project by Casey Jex Smith. The exhibition includes drawing, painting, installation, performance, video and sculpture all related to the group Doomslangers, and their Dungeons and Dragons adventure to protect the city of Dingershare, root out evil, and make sure the Silver Noni Fruit does not fall into the hands of Lord Ricaek. Dungeons & Dragons is a tabletop role-playing game that allows players to immerse a created character into a fantasy world of fighting, magic and adventure. A Dungeon Master moderates the player experience and creates the story line to which the players react to using dice rolls, statistics and structured yet free-form system of play that is derived from miniature war games. The original game was published in 1974 and created by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson.
Over the last 5 months, theses eight artists have been invited by Casey Jex Smith to play this D&D campaign from various parts of the country using videochat and in turn, make art that reacts to their experience. As the artists negotiate the day-to-day realities of an adult “responsible” life in the real world, the need for a community in which they can participate becomes stronger. The ability to communicate and play the game over the Internet frees the participants to live how, and where, they like while still offering a defined structure to create narrative, meaning, magical weapons, and monsters that hoard treasure.
During the first 3 days of the exhibition, visitors to the gallery can create a free, personalized character sheet that allows them to begin playing D&D. On Wednesday, 20th October the Doomslangers will finish their 5 month long campaign in the Gallery basement. The next day, NYC resident Tavis Allison will be the Dungeon Master in a campaign that visitors can participate in. For the opening on Friday, 22nd October visitors are invited to come dressed as their favorite D&D character or monster, participate in the final battle against Lord Ricaek, drink heal and mana potions, and hear music by acclaimed bard, Lark Dreambow. Beholders are welcome.
Daniel Everett’s work is an exploration of the pursuit of meaning within anonymous space, both physical and virtual. His multimedia work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, and featured on rhizome.org. Jared Clark combines found kitsch into hybrid objects that blur the line between sculpture and painting, narrative and non-objectivity. Ryan Browning combines elements of the traditional Romantic landscape, formal abstraction, and the simplified forms of digital representation to investigate a possible mythology where the virtual and the real are forced to evolve a new and sublime natural order. Gian Pierotti makes ceramics that will function in an inevitable post-apocolyptic society with limited resources. Tyrone Davies explores questions of mediated spectacle and mass culture either through the reuse, re-appropriation, and re-contextualization of recorded material and industrially produced objects. Timothy Hutchings is a gamer and visual artist who often betrays the viewers’ sympathies and trust while delving into the history of film, minimal aesthetics, and chance based conflict resolution. He has shown work at the Kunsthalle Wien, The New Museum of Contemporary Art and Socrates Sculpture Park. Chris Coy works with the activities and escapist strategies of the suburban (usually white and often teenage) male. He has shown work at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, Sundance Film Festival, and the Netherlands Media Art Institute. Allan Ludwig regards his painting practice as related to ideas of magic, power and the unknown.
Casey Jex Smith addresses personal identity in finding meaning between three seemingly disparate worlds: religion, sci-fi/fantasy and “high-art”. He has shown his work at the Drawing Center, Yerba Buena Center of the Arts, and Swarm Gallery, Oakland. This is his second show at Allegra LaViola Gallery.