Ritual Aesthetics brings together five different perspectives on how that act of ritual is absorbed by the creative process and translated into a contemporary art practice. How do certain works of art resonate over time while others fade away, and what special powers do art objects contain or the recording of actions hold?
When it comes to channeling dark forces and curses, Vincent Como’s singular vision of all things Black is carried out through an unrepentant exploration of subjects informed by Color Theory, Physics, Alchemy, Heavy Metal, Religion and Mythology. In Dark Benediction, Como pairs a small black canvas on the wall with a measured circle of Tourmaline Crystals on the floor, beckoning an individual viewer to the center, offering a minimal format of dark contemplation.
Indulging the viewer in the act of worship is a theme that permeates through the imagined ceremonies of Irvin Morazan. The shamanic nature of the performances give a heightened sense of intrigue, as the artist carries the load of a large, sculptural headdress, adorned with an array of materials borrowed from the the spiritual and natural worlds. The unpredictable nature of these performances allow Morazan to bridge the gap between ancient traditions and urban sub-cultures with humor, absurdity, and a street-wise swagger.
Michael Bühler-Rose pairs his deep involvement in ancient Hindu rituals with conceptual art practices that challenge the traditional artist/viewer relationship. In his piece Removing the Evil Eye From the Works in My Studio, Bühler-Rose performs a Hindu ritual used for clearing a new dwelling of any lingering negative energies. The video offers a new perspective on action painting and performance art by using coconuts that are repeatedly smashed against a corner in a single aggressive motion, essentially casting the evil out the space.
In the paintings of Tamara Gonzales, the private studio ritual is informed by the artist’s shrine-like accumulation of religious and pop paraphernalia, with the final works capturing a mystical quality through an intuitive and formal approach. Gonzales acts as a conduit for channeling these influences that comes from her involvement in the ceremonial ritual of puja, ancestor worship, Wicca, and Catholicism. In Benevolent Maelstrom, the multi-layered painting takes on a talismanic quality by transcending the illusionary, flat plane of the canvas.
Direct and subtle ways that ritual informs the creative process is evident in the work of Chris Gentile, his studio being the constant location for sculptural environments that are meticulously built, with the sole purpose of being photographed then destroyed. Gentile’s process is a strange brew of intuition, deliberation, and obsessive detail that comes across in the final image, the scale of the prints emphasizing or concealing the materials used in their creation. This act of accumulation reveals itself in Off / Shit Out of Luck, the staged ritual providing a psychological layer of deeper meaning.
PROGRESS REPORT was co-founded by painters Kris Chatterson & Vince Contarino in 2010. It is dedicated to artist features, studio visits, and acts as an online curatorial resource for discovering artists working in and outside of New York City. Progress Report aims to allow the categories of art-making to fall by the wayside by presenting various perspectives on the creative process from the working artist’s point of view.
TOMPKINS PROJECTS is a contemporary art gallery showcasing compelling work by emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery is located near the G and JMZ trains as well as the B54 and B43 bus lines. It is street level and handicap-accessible. In addition to the gallery’s normal viewing hours, the gallery is open by appointment and also lit and visible from the street daily until 10pm. Tompkins Projects is located in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, and was founded by artists Milton F Stevenson V and Jeanne Jo in 2009.