Since 2013 Aaron Pexa has been making video works that are informed by his previous career in architecture and urban planning. His work manifests curiosity and a sense of bewilderment through video, optics, and appropriated antique objects. Pexa’s surrealist, glass sets combined with spoken word and original scores reframe everyday objects into fantastical narratives and opportunities for storytelling. The poetic materiality of his videos overflows into his curiosity-inspiring installations, which explore the process of creation, and the symbiotic relationship between glass and light.
Aaron Pexa: The Spoils of Annwn will present, for the first time, an multi-media installation inspired by “Preiddeu Annwn,” an epic poem found in the Book of Taliesen, one of the most famous Middle Welsh manuscripts. “Preiddeu Annwn,” which translates to “The Spoils of Annwn” is a cryptic telling of a tragic overseas journey made by King Arthur and his knights to Annwn—the Otherworld—a world of otherworldly delights inhabited by the faerie folk. Throughout this poem, Annwn is referred to by several names, including the Glass Fortress. The island with the Glass Fortress also has links to the legendary Isle of Avalon, the island of Glastonbury, in the United Kingdom, and the search for the Holy Grail.
In this exhibition, Pexa uses video, neon, light sculptures, and illustration to materialize the fantastical beasts that inhabit Annwn. Transformed into an otherworld, the gallery will tell the story of Arthur’s journey through a contemporary lens. The Old English term “werifesteria,” which means to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery is theme central to this work, as is Pexa’s consistent goal to incite wonder and bewilderment within his audience. The installation and accompanying materials will include contributions by performer-vocalist-dancer Maralie and poet Joanna C. Valente.