Phantasmorganica (fan’taz/mor’ga’ni’ka): 1. an exhibition of illusions of organically-inspired forms; 2. a bizarre or fantastic combination, collection, or assemblage of natural-looking things
Allegra LaViola Gallery is pleased to present the group exhibition P h a n t a s m o r g a n i c a, co-curated with Danielle Mund. The exhibition showcases the work of seven artists who examine and transmogrify ideas and materials into complex, “organic” images through drawing, painting, collage, and photography. “Phantasmorganica” is a fabricated word fusing the lexical words “phantasmagoria” and “organic”, resulting in the idea of the natural intertwined with the fantastical.
The primitivistic quality of drawing makes it especially well-suited to the idea of the organic “other”. Tony Ingrisano’s intricate drawings often begin with familiar inanimate curves that seem to evolve into biotic forms, gaining detailed, snake-like features that drip, crawl, and slither across the paper. Similarly meticulous are Lauren Seiden’s graphite-on-paper drawings of miniscule marks, where she manipulates electronic images cultivated from the Internet into images that are instead personal and individualized, and thus seem to be part of the natural world.
Casey Jex Smith, whose work was recently shown at The Drawing Center, composes uncanny drawings of biomorphic creatures and Ensor-like architectural environments; these forms contrast and complement Kelly Wilson’s large scale graphite drawings, which propose imagined spaces and environments that draw upon his long-term interest in architectural imagery, organic forms, and the archeological fragments found in the “boneyards” of Rome.
Mixed-media collage paintings, which intrinsically play with surface and difference, likewise contend with the idea of earthly versus created realities. John Ros’ small collages, inspired by the intersection of industrial architecture and nature, juxtapose the tangibility of natural textures with the ephemerality of truth and meaning. Commonplace, man-made substances such as glue and ballpoint pen ink are a defining feature of Shane McAdams’ works, where his unusual use of materials transforms his compositions into raw-looking matter.
Kimberlee Venable’s photographs—inherently abstractions of an existing environment—examine fragments of an original context in order to direct the viewer’s interaction with these fragments and create a new narrative, such that the banal enters into the sublime.
Danielle Mund is an independent curator and art writer who has worked with Christie’s in New York and the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London. She earned her BA in Art History from Wellesley College and an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art.