Star Goddess Island
Curated by Gregory Rourke, through a harmonious experiential assemblage of ceramics, video, textile, and paint, Star Goddess Island features artworks by Tahnee Lonsdale, Liv Aanrud, Jessalyn Brooks, Kathryn Garcia, and Katie Kirk.
Capturing autobiographical responses to the expectations of womanhood, Tahnee Lonsdale’s paintings portray body language as symptomatic of inner emotional states. Sinuous bodies of vibrant reddish-orange and blush pinks fold into themselves, limbs contorting to fit within the confines of the canvas. Lonsdale renders an unmistakable omnipresence of domestic setting through a patchwork of contextual cues—background grids for wallpaper or tile and an orange scrap of fringed rug—which conspire to suggest the gendering of otherwise androgynous anthropomorphic forms. Some bodies themselves emulate chairs and tables, blurring lines between portraiture and still-life genres which convey sentiments of interpersonal submission or solitary confinement, and alternatively, nurturing gestures of motherhood or self-repair evident in “Bather.”
Venturing towards psychological landscapes within mystical natural sceneries, Liv Aanrud further explores triumphs and tribulations from personal experience in a feminine existence. Women merge in union with their natural surroundings in Aanrud’s vast textile canvases as lush green foliage and deep burgundy hair intermingle. Fish, roses, birds, and shrubs envelop the women in “River Mama,” and “Floating Alone,” who simultaneously emerge from and dissolve into watery expanses.
Spiritual interchange and oneness between woman and earth as forms of therapeutic, internal healing also figure’s in Kathryn Garcia’s mesmerizing multi-media works. Filmed in Ibiza, a Spanish island, the artist’s video footage features Garcia in striking ritualistic goddess poses which emulate historical ancient iconography. In the backdrop hovers Es Vedrà, the uninhabited Goddess Island near Ibiza, a well known energetic vortex. By channeling feminine wisdom and spirituality, Garcia’s nude body serves as a bridge between terrestrial elements of the earthen ground and the cosmic qualities embodied in the beams of light radiating from the prisms. A hypnotic combination of video, light, performance, and sound healing in the artwork pull human consciousness towards the divine feminine, Garcia’s body behaving as the primary medium to usher a sense of cathartic release.
A similar quality in the utilization of one’s own body as inspiration manifests through Katie Kirk’s ceramic sculptures-in this case, the works explore the unseen cavernous spaces within her human body. Introspective and self aware, the sculptures bear trace of their conception through their maker’s repeated squeezes, finger and footprints on once-malleable clay. Connecting directly to the earth by way of her organic medium, Kirk’s tubular shapes recall intestines and ribcages, which subtly mirror under water life forms of barnacles and reefs. The sculptures gestural movement of intertwining forms elicit a temptation to touch so often linked to sensory exchange. Glazed in spurts of fleshy pinks and mint blue, color and form intermingle as intimately as the coiling of clay teeter between abstract and anatomical. Through deep conjuring, the artist expresses the tangible internalization of her own anatomy’s potential capacities for invisible pain and pleasure.
Life and still life, figure and landscape, spiritual and corporeal. Yet another strain of dichotomy joins Star Goddess Island in paintings by Jessalyn Brooks, which test the criteria for classical feminine beauty. Competitiveness flows between the figures, or is it companionship?Brooks leans into the subtle, pleasing curvatures of the idealized female form, lending them a captivating, sensual, and erotic quality. Yet simultaneously, she perverts the imagery through misplaced limbs gone askew, wobbly checkered floors, and starkly dramatic color contrasts of jet black and scarlet. These combinations render the characters in each canvas as iterations of faceless femme fatales. The enticing yet foreboding mélange of multi-color hands, breasts, and hips reckon with an all-too-familiar double-edged sword of empowerment and exploitation attached to the sexualization of one’s body. Brook’s figures exude a fluid freedom of passion and power that is both wildly magnifying and unapologetic.
The secrets of the Star Goddess are enigmatic and perceptive. No truth is held forbidden, and in the sanctuary of her depths, all are welcome to thrive freely in a lush garden of beauty, desire and mystery. Five artists offer their visual testimonies of feminine form and spirit as both active and reactive agents to ever-evolving domestic, natural, mystical, or psychological contexts. Implied by the name of the exhibition itself, Star Goddess Island offers up a fantastical yet grounding landscape to catch one’s breath amidst the ceaseless navigation of life’s roaring sea. The evidence of sheer beauty, nature and otherworldly connection is profoundly visible within the artists’ visual diaries. Imprinted inquiries disclose documentation of internal and external feminine experience and appearance. Together, the chorus of decadent color, intricate linework, and tangible truthfulness unravel into a symphony which lingers long after departure
from Star Goddess Island. -Lisa Aubry