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Daniel Higgs: The Hieroglyphic Ideal

Mountain Fold Gallery
55 Fifth Avenue, 18th Floor, 212-255-4304
Greenwich Village
December 10, 2009 - January 9, 2010
Reception: Thursday, December 10, 7 - 9 PM
Web Site

Mountain Fold is pleased to announce the opening of The Hieroglyphic Ideal, a show by Daniel Higgs. In Higgs’ paintings and drawings, celestial bodies, plants, internal organs, animals, humans, and other elements from the material realm convene to form a visual symbology. Like hieroglyphs, his art constructs a system that can express emotion and tell stories that are otherwise uncommunicable in extant language. By imbuing the real with the imaginative, he offers a mythological, fantastical interpretation of our present surroundings.

“Lenten-Trance Triad” encompasses a spiritual metamorphosis within the human form. The vertical painting is sectioned into three, moving from a brown base with an egg and a wave-textured guitar, through a blue swath wherein people and lines intersect, to a black rectangle with constellation-like references to thought, love, breath. The painting invokes surrealist and cubist styles, thus promoting unconscious associations and emphasizing the deconstruction of objects and language. The work calls upon imagery and design from others of Higgs’ paintings, making salient his own visual language.

One painting presents a portrait without traditional facial features; a human-like bust floats before a black background. Instead of eyes, nose, mouth, a conifer arises from a grassy circle, and at its apex is an eye emanating light. This eye invokes the Eye of Providence, commonly seen on the dollar bill, the Yogic third eye center, a star on top of a Christmas tree, and the Egyptian Eye of Horus. The tree grows like symbolic language coming from a mouth. These disparate things are symbols of symbols, reflections like two mirrors facing one other. Yet Higgs contains them within the shape of a head, suggesting that human thought resembles such refractions.

Higgs, a renowned poet and musician, pours the logic of those media into his work two-dimensional work, thereby giving the paintings a dynamic quality. Visual motifs reappear in separate pieces that tie the body of work together, while the images allude to nonverbal metaphor. Although static depictions, they seem to float through time and space, to carry a past and a future, and to bear many different meanings.
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