Asya Geisberg Gallery is pleased to present “A Window Scrubbed for the Moon,” a group exhibition of mindscapes and microcosms that hew elements from the real world and radiate through an otherworldly prism. A window is gleaming and ready for the moon’s face and a flood of wavering silver light. Enter the magical territory of Kim Dorland, Alessandro Keegan, Susan Klein, Mark Laver, Kirsten Lepore, Lisa Sanditz, and Jakub Tomáš. We see the transformation of places known in the world, of places lost, and of places that don't yet exist. They resist summary documentation and truly yield to the extraordinary. Paintings, sculptures and moving images demonstrate the idea that through observation and invention, the “nothing” has the opportunity to become everything.
All of the works in the exhibition are landscapes, but not in the conventional sense. They contain stories that revel in the powers of the imagination and ripple at the fate of human culture. Under the moon’s watchful eye, a sick girl travels through a pulsing, visceral landscape (Kirsten Lepore); forests morph, glow and smolder (Kim Dorland and Mark Laver); crystal orbs reflect light from far beyond (Alessandro Keegan); carriers parade ancient heads upon a regal palanquin (Jakub Tomáš); clay metropolises are arranged for ritual and protection (Susan Klein); and Barry Manilow morphs into his own glittering sea of fans (Lisa Sanditz).
Storytelling has the ability to immortalize all that will fall apart. Incidentally, this exhibition was planned a month before COVID slowed the spin of the world, and was proposed under the influence of Invisible Cities, a novel by Italian author Italo Calvino, published in 1972. Calvino’s dreamlike chronicles consist of fictional dialogues between the Venetian traveler Marco Polo and the Mongol emperor Kublai Khan. Throughout these discussions, the young Polo describes imagined landscapes and fantastic communities or physical impossibilities. Invisible Cities is a metaphor of the episteme of our times: there is no absolute shape of knowledge, only the chimera of the impossible, the unraveling of what is and the making of what could be.
Kim Dorland is a Toronto-based painter who probes the psychic, remembered spaces of his upbringing in Canada through rich, vivid impasto layers. A painterly vision firmly anchored in its own materiality, Dorland’s encompasses a connection with the Canadian landscape and personal narratives of his family.
Alessandro Keegan is a New York-based painter whose paintings and drawings depict forms that straddle the lines between science, nature, and mysticism. He creates delicate systems of globes of light, symbols of ourselves in the physical world.
Susan Klein is based in Charleston, South Carolina and her work plays with the idea of American spirituality. She makes sculpture, paintings, and works on paper that repurpose religious and ritualistic imagery to serve a secular spiritualism that is part of contemporary American culture.
Mark Laver works and lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, surrounded by beaches, tidal swamps, creeks, and forests - all major influences in his current work. Laver limits himself to a strict palette of greens, yellows, greys and blacks and invents an ever-expanding wilderness of monster-like motifs and dense vegetation.
Kirsten Lepore is a director and animator based in Los Angeles, best known for her award-winning stop-motion short films like "Sweet Dreams," "Bottle," and “Hi Stranger." Lepore’s intricate animations are about loneliness, vulnerability and perseverance, and are peopled with endearing characters in psychedelic landscapes.
Lisa Sanditz lives and works in New York. Sanditz’s landscapes vibrate with energy and brilliant colors while they expose the complex coexistence of humankind and natural forces. As the focus is on the under-explored parts of contemporary society, she disarms us with humor and a sumptuous painterly language.
From the Czech Republic, Jakub Tomáš builds stories about quasi-objects-heroes based on DIY cardboard models and sets. A central motif of Tomáš’s paintings is the cut-out figure whose end is to unmask painterly illusion, while the tools of the craft make cameo appearances in the paintings themselves: construction kits, glue bottles, scissors, skewers, cardboard boxes, and work tables.
~ Melanie Daniel