“It is far better to light a candle,” goes an ancient Persian saying, “than to curse the darkness.”
But really — why stop there? Why not light a lantern? Why not make it a pumpkin-sized pale-white rice-paper lantern? Why not string dozens of them down an allee of Brazilian blue jacaranda trees and wait through the night for the piping spirits of Spring?
Or to put it perhaps more simply, what would Chris Bogia do? If the sculptor, painter and denizen of Queens can be relied upon to do one thing, it is to be constructive. Bogia gets constructive as multipliciously as he can. He starts by building from the simple materials (yarn, wood, burlap, paint) that he has been experimenting and working with since his youth when his mother drove him weekly to Michael’s for crafting supplies. Within the sculptural frames that have become a hallmark of his work, Bogia gathers armfuls of vividly colorful cultural references — from India, Denmark, China, Mexico, Germany and even Queens — and melds them together with touches of Erté, Eames and Disney. The results are original visions with a haunting sense of déjà vu. Nuanced nightscapes of soft-splashing deco fountains. Dim interiors lit by a snow-white mandala moon. Candy-colored Memphis candles and, in the center of it all, a six-foot ink-black lantern.
For a day when rancorous dialogues of contemporary art can feel like an angry march of flambeaux, Bogia’s show is a powerful argument for putting a candle in the window, too.
If art can go into battle, art can leave a light on.
Night in the Village is on view at Mrs., 6040 56th Dr., Maspeth, Queens, NY 11378 through July 2, 2022.