CALL FOR ARTISTS | SUBMIT JUNE 4 (DEADLINE EXTENDED!)

beautiful_lacunae_halfsizeFINAL_extended for blog_minimal

lacuna (linguistics), a lexical gap in a language | lacunae [plural]

Is the meaning of your artwork dependent upon specific references to a language or culture?

Do you feel that your artwork is best understood when interpreted by those who also share or know about a culture? Or when viewed by those who also speak a specific language?

Do you feel that there is a gap of understanding when English-speakers interpret your artwork?

The Stamp Gallery at the University of Maryland invites you to submit images of your work to its second summer exhibition, Beautiful Lacunae.

Sanskrit, the sacred language of Hinduism that is still spoken in parts of modern-day India, has 96 words for different forms of “love.” Some languages in Australia, Papua New Guinea, and Asia do not have words for “color,” but all have words to describe the seen world (1). Artists who speak languages that read right-to-left often create visual narratives that also read right to left.

Beautiful Lacunae asks us all: how does language affect an artist’s production of art? How does it affect a viewer’s interpretation?

What are the gaps between these experiences?

Beautiful Lacunae will provide a platform for artists to present work related to a  language or culture in its most natural, intended form. Labels will be written in the language that the artist chooses, and a pop-up librarycreated collaboratively with exhibiting artistswill be available for visitors to investigate cultural references further.

Artists are encouraged to submit 2-D or 3-D work in any medium, including digital, installation, performance, text, and sound. Size of entries are restricted to the size of the Gallery space: please email for Gallery dimensions. There is no entry fee.

TO SUBMIT: Please email the following to stampgallery@umd.edu with title “Beautiful Lacunae Application – [Name].”
  • Up to 10 images of your work. If video or audio recordings or documentation are essential to your proposed body of work, clips should be shared as a link to a streaming site (with passwords provided as necessary).
  • Image list with title, date, materials, dimensions in inches, and any relevant specifications for installation or equipment necessary for the presentation of the work.
  • Phone number.
  • Link to artist website (if applicable).
All submissions must be received by May 21. Deadline extended to June 4. Accepted artists will be notified mid-June.
QUESTIONS: Grace DeWitt at stampgallery@umd.edu.

 

 

 

 

1 Anna Wierzbecka, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

Advertisements

Interview with ‘Media Lux’ Artist Monroe Isenberg

This is the first installment of the Media Lux artist interview series. Media Lux features work by Clay Dunklin, Mason Hurley, Irene Pantelis, Monroe Isenberg, and Gina Takaoka.

Monroe Isenberg | Graduate Student and Artist | Exhibiting in Media Lux from April 2nd through May 19th, 2018 at The Stamp Gallery | University of Maryland, College Park | Interview by Erin Allen

IMG_4495

The Space Between, mixed media, 2018

Before we begin talking about these particular works, let’s start with some background. What’s your artistic background, and what brought you to study at UMD?

I’m from Minneapolis, I lived in Portland for seven years, and then I came here for graduate school. I was working in fabrication for awhile in Portland, felt terrible about it eventually and thought “what’s missing in my life?” So I remembered that I loved making art in college, and went “oh yeah, I think I’m an artist.” That’s the whole reason I got into fabrication, because I wanted to learn how to make things so that I could make better sculptures, and I had forgotten that after I graduated. I applied for an intern residency at Franconia Sculpture Park, which is in Minnesota. It’s on the border of Wisconsin and Minnesota in Shafer. It’s this 80 acre sculpture park in the middle of nowhere, you’re driving along and then all of a sudden you see this giant circle and these colors, and these sculptures jetting up into the sky, and you’re like “what is this doing here?” I was working there and I met Foon [Sham] and Dane [Winkler]. Dane is an alumni here and Foon is a professor, and they told me about the program, told me about funding, and it peaked my interest. I had loved my time at Franconia and I felt revitalized. I hadn’t felt that type of energy from a community and from within myself for years, aside from being in college and being surrounded by that art community. So Foon and Dane and Hugh, Hugh is a sculpture park manager over there, they told me about [the program here at Maryland], and I was like yeah, I think I wanna go back to school.

 

Did something in particular, like your background in psychology or a specific movement, draw you to work in a Minimalist style? Have any particular artists or concepts inspired your art practice?

I think I accidentally started working in a minimalist style. I think that comes from my parents; my dad is an architect, my mom is a designer, an artist, and a professor of design, she has an MFA in design, so I think the simple and minimal, less is more idea has always just been in me. I think psychology, I hadn’t actually really thought about that too much before, but I think psychology helped me to realize how people make judgments and decisions, and how they are affected by small, seemingly insignificant, minimal things in their environment, and that actually makes them view the world in a completely different way. Whether or not we shake hands, and I have a warm hand versus a cold hand, it’s going to be a subliminal message, it’s going to go into your subconscious and make you think that if I have a cold hand, I might have a cold character and a cold personality, and I might say the exact same thing to you, but your interpretation of me is totally changed by that minute feeling. Same with taste, same with hot coffee and cold coffee. So understanding environments and little environmental changes, I think actually has played a role. But the artists that I’ve loved are all minimal. Like Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Anish Kapoor, Anne Truitt, those people are amazing. When I see that work and I’m with it, it justs hits me in a specific way, it’s not contrived. For me, I think minimalism can aid contemplation of work and reduce the static noise of everything around us and help us focus. I’m thinking about that, I’m thinking about the viewer experience, but now I’ve started calling them the participants because I’m looking into relationships in my work. Instead of an experience, I want people to be in the present moment with my work, at least I am when I’m looking at it, and I think the work calls for that, for you to understand it intuitively. But I use participant, as opposed to viewer, because participant implies that you’re participating in the work, you’re relating to the work, whereas experience implies objectifying the work, making it an experience that is to be held for the self instead of meeting the work in between.

 

Wood, concrete, and steel seem to be the main mediums in a great deal of your work, what got you interested in using these materials?

Lately, I think I was using wood a lot because I was most comfortable with it, and it’s just something when you love a material you have to use it. With metal, I use it for its structural purposes, and it has a specific beauty in its’ functionality and its’ strength. Cement, this is actually my first ever cement sculpture. It was fun to work with cement, I don’t know when I’ll use it again, but I use materials according to the idea, so if the relationship I’m trying to call upon involves air, maybe I’ll use some kind of air, if it involves earth, I’ll use cement. It’s basically like whatever the idea calls for, I want to use the material that most represents and works with that idea. At least that’s what I’m trying to push for. Instead of only using wood or only using steel, I’d like to use plexi maybe or possibly glass in the future.

IMG_4497

Earth, cement, 2018, from the series The Space Between

It seems like the works currently in the gallery both incorporate movement in some way, either on the part of the viewer (in the case of the sculptures that make up The Space Between), or on the part of the performer (in the case of Habitus). Is this a theme you explore in other works as well?

I think everything that’s alive, and even things that aren’t alive, move. It’s just a part of us, it’s a part of being. It’s also interesting to see stuff move, whether it’s mechanical or organic, it’s just nice to look at movement. Whether it’s the participant moving around the sculpture, I think that’s where my psychology background comes into play too because I’m always thinking about how does a person move around the sculpture or the space, and what are they going to get from moving over here versus moving over there. Then specifically with Habitus, I think I was most interested in the movement when you don’t know that there’s a person in there. But I think it’s really important that the person’s in there, as opposed to a mechanical robot. Ultimately Habitus is about the way that movement describes specific beings. Whether it’s the way the wind pushes prairie grass around, sea anemones, all of those things, just the way they move describes what they are. So getting even more abstracted, I think I’m going to make a blanket, where maybe two people can be underneath, and I think that allows for even more abstraction because they can lay down, and they can be on their stomachs, they can be on their backs, they can roll around, they can push up their arm. It eventually becomes this landscape, which is interesting because everything in this gallery is about landscape, which is totally accidental, that we’re all kind of connected in that way.

 

Going off of what you were describing with the importance of a person being inside of Habitus or underneath the blanket that you discussed, do you think it would ever be an option to allow a viewer to be the person controlling the movement of the piece?

Absolutely, yeah, I really want to get into that too because not only does it provide more participation in the art, but I actually think the art really happens only for the person that’s in the suit. Otherwise, you’re experiencing the suit. You’re outside of the suit, you’re not living in it. When you’re in it, you can hear sound from up here, here, here, everywhere around you, and it sounds like raindrops and it’s peaceful, but it’s also so heavy that it’s uncomfortable, and you get so many different feelings because you’re getting sweaty and gross, but it’s also so beautiful because you’re in this nice dark space, and it’s comforting, and you just lose sense of time. Shawn [Stone], the MFA dancer who did the performance, when we were filming for the video, he didn’t know when to stop, he lost sense of time completely, and when I’ve been in there I lose sense of time too. Losing sense of time and being in the present moment, hearing those sounds really immerses you, so I really think that another kind of work would be somehow elevating a half-suit or something so that you could duck down in there and play, and understand what it’s like to be in a space like that and hear the sound, because that’s where the art happens for me. Otherwise, again, you’re outside of it, which is equally as valid because experiencing something, documenting things, and not always being in the present moment gave us science, it gave us technology, it gave us all the comforts of life. Otherwise we’d still be outside, poking fire. We wouldn’t even know how to make fire, so it’s equally as valid, equally as important, I just think there needs to be a balance.

 

The sculptures that make up The Space Between juxtapose Earth and space in relation to consciousness. How did you become interested in the concept of changing consciousness between different realms, and how do the materials you chose to work with each represent these different domains?

I think the present moment calls for a relationship, and the relationship happens in the space between. The relationship is where we experience the mystical nature of our world, and it’s what makes the world a special place, when we’re in the present moment, not when we’re in the past, not when we’re in the future. And I think as we grow as a society, we’re getting farther and farther away from the present moment, especially with social media and always being on our phone. We’re not being with each other and we’re not being with the things around us. We lose those hints and glimpses or those moments of insight, we don’t see those poetic encounters that we might have with a specific person, with an animal, with a wall, with an artwork, with a leaf falling down from a tree and blowing in the wind. We lose those things. And those are the things that make the world beautiful. So, The Space Between is that infinitesimal space that we can exist in, but it only happens every once in awhile. We only get very small, minute glimpses of it. It might only happen for a second, it could happen for an hour if you’re meditating, if you’re in that space, if you reach that space. It takes practice. So The Space Between is kind of that idea. I did another piece titled Light House (x), and that piece let me finally understand why I’ve been making that shape. That shape, it references platonic ideas, ancient Greece, pyramids, things like that, but that’s not really why I’m making it. I made it because I like the shape, it grounds me, it makes me feel solid, it’s a physical form, and it has this presence to it. That’s why I like making it, and it feels good to make it. I can’t stop making it for some reason, it’s just one of those things. But I realized, when I did Light House, the top of it emanated this light that created these ripple effects around it to make an environment, and you would walk into the environment and you saw this almost ominous black form hovering above the ground, above it is a square of light, and you’d get sucked into the space around you. People described it as an aurora borealis, ripples, water reflections, but then you’d always be pulled back to the center of this space, which is where the big obelisk was. So you’d be constantly jumping back and forth from being with the present moment, but then realizing where the present moment comes from, and therefore losing the present moment. So the obelisk, I finally realized, allows us to be in the present moment, but at the same time we need it because we jump back and forth, it’s like an ebb and flow between physicality and the spiritual or abstract space around us. It’s a weird paradox. I’m still wrapping my head around it, I don’t know if I’ll ever figure it out, and I actually hope not to because I always want to be asking questions, instead of only providing answers.

 

The sound produced by the wooden spikes in Habitus is an integral part of the piece. Do you work with sound and other sensory aspects in your work often, or is this something new?

I want to engage as many senses as possible because that’s how we experience and relate to the world. I think the sound element is usually a surprise , but I find it happening in my work a lot. I’m not consciously trying to create sound work, it just happens with the work that I’m making. I think it’s more on an intuitive level. I love music, I love sound, I think I was first introduced to the power of sound when I was doing meditation in college. We would do chanting, and the vibrations that you create in the back of your nose and the center of your brain when everybody else is doing it, and the harmonies that happen, if there’s a group of ten people, these complex things happen around you and you’re just immersed in that present moment, and it vibrates your head, and you’re just lost, in a good way. So I think ever since then I’ve understood the power of sound, and actually the hyperbolic object, if you put your ear up to it, it hums. So I’ve also been playing with sculptural forms that are hollow that transform the ambient air energy into a specific frequency. It’s fun, and it’s always a surprise. And I’ll always check to see if it makes a sound . It’s also fun because you can drum on the ends, and it’s like a doumbek drum. Specifically with Habitus, I knew that the suit was going to make that sound because I had started making just the spikes as part of another sculpture, and I was playing with them. I had maybe twenty of them in my hand and I was ruffling them up and dropping them, and they were so warm, the tone. So I decided that that was something I really wanted to explore. Habitus maybe is the thing that I knew was going to be visual, I knew was going to be auditory, but with the other sculptures that produce that hum, it’s always a surprise.

IMG_4504

Still from Habitus, mixed media, 2018

The video piece that is associated with Habitus acts as a way to document the movement and sound of the wearable sculpture. Is video art something you’d like to delve more into in the future, or is it solely a way to record your installations and performances?

I’m interested in it. I think I’d want to, instead of getting into video, get into projection, and figure out how to make projection more than just a flat thing that you watch. Maybe creating a dimensionality to the projected image. Maybe projecting it onto layers of plexiglass. Let’s say we have five layers of plexiglass, and I haven’t done this so I don’t know if it would work, but the image might get bounced back and forth between the sheets of plexiglass, and then you might have a higher quality dimensionality. Yeah, which would make the thing more than just an image. That’s kind of my tiff with video and projection right now. It’s just an image. I mean it’s with sound but you’re still just watching a flat wall that’s creating this illusion. It’s still not real. There’s nothing wrong with that, but how do you push it? Film is totally good at that, you go to the movies and you’re totally immersed. So it’s not like it can’t happen, but what’s the next step? How do you keep pushing that idea?

 

You’ve already touched on this a bit, but how do you see your works in relation to the other pieces in this exhibition?

I see an interest in the land, and in diving deep into intuition, and just creating and making from that. With Irene’s work, she’s referencing her Columbian history and she’s making these beautiful gestural drawings, but she’s also creating these landscapes coming from those ideas. Mason is interested, at least in how I view it, in how different layers of visual stimuli can mess with your mind. I think it plays with the fallibility of our eyes. Gina is all about landscape, abandoned coal mines, constellations, mapping. Clay’s work is the landscape of the human body, and I think we’re all interested in natural phenomenon, and the beauty that happens from that.

 

Would you like to add anything else about the exhibition or these works? Any future plans for your work, or any upcoming exhibitions or other information you’d like to include?

Well, it was fabulous working with all of you, it was great. I think for all of our work, a lot of people are like “how do I experience this, what am I supposed to think?” All of those questions. You’re not supposed to think anything, just go to the work, relate with it, be with it, contemplate it, and you’ll get your own thing from it. All of us are creating from a specific place, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that that’s the answer. Because there’re obviously so many interpretations of all this work. They all have so many layers, and I would say just be with it. And then future plans, I might be going to Switzerland as a part of the International Student award, I don’t know about that yet. The only thing I have solidly planned is I have a show at the Greater Reston Arts Center in late December, where I’ll be showing with four other artists. Other things are in the works, but nothing solid yet.

 

Monroe Isenberg’s work is included in Media Lux at The Stamp Gallery of the University of Maryland, College Park, from April 2nd through May 19th, 2018.

For more information on Monroe Isenberg, visit https://monroeisenberg.com/.

For more information on Media Lux and related events, visit thestamp.umd.edu/stamp_gallery.

 


Call for Artists EXTENDED

CALL FOR ARTISTS

Application Deadline: Sunday, April 15th

Exhibition Dates | May 30th – July 2018

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Washington, D.C., the political capital of The United States, is often portrayed as merely a series of federal bureaucratic institutions. These representations ignore the diverse collection of men and women living and working in the city. This exhibition is fueled by a curiosity about what it means to be a person in the nation’s capital in the present moment of global and political tension. This show seeks to question what the reality of everyday life is like for citizens of the capital of one of the most powerful nations in the world. What lies under the image of power? What does it mean to exist in a time when major political shifts trigger both movements of hate and of acceptance? How do artists engage with different identities in such a place and time?

The curator of the exhibition seeks photography (or works closely related to photography and the tradition portraiture) and text-based works (poetry, narrative, etc.) that explore the experience of existing in Washington D.C. The exhibition seeks in particular to highlight the viewpoints of young female artists whose works explore the implications of Washington, D.C. life through portrayals of individuals, families, or groups. Works might consider the disparity between larger political institutions and individual realities, the intersection of race and gender in everyday life and/or the results of gentrification.  Artists are encouraged to consider how scale and use of material can contribute their engagements with the topics described.. The works submitted should focus on the present or recent past of life in Washington, D.C. (a sort of ‘D.C. Today’) but may also examine the ways that past moments or movements live on in the present.       

The curator will select a small group of artists whose work she feels critically and creatively engages the exhibition concept outlined above to exhibit their work at the Stamp Gallery, a contemporary art space located in the University of Maryland-College Park’s Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life. Any existing works must have been completed within the last 2 years to be considered. Undergraduate artists are strongly encouraged to apply. A PDF form of this call is available here

This exhibition is the Stamp Gallery’s annual undergraduate-curated exhibition. Previous shows in the series include:

  • I’m Fine: The works in I’m Fine examine and respond to the following questions How does creativity alleviate or intensify emotion? In what ways does art comment on—and participate in—mental health and self-care? To what extent is art a mouthpiece for the mind in flux or an independent and evolving entity? Curated by Stamp Gallery docents Tasiana Paolisso (B.S. Architecture ‘18) Sarah Schurman (B.A. English ‘17).
  • Paradise Now : A game of unequal circumstances and varying objectives by Baltimore-based artist Kimi Hanauer, featuring collaborations with Sydney Spann, Michael Stephens, and Nikki Lee, curated by Christopher Bugtong (Computer Science and Film Studies ’17), Grace DeWitt (Animal Science and Studio Art ’17), and Shay Tyndall (English and Mandarin Chinese ’17)
  • In Response: An exhibition showcasing the artwork of University of Maryland undergraduate students inspired by contemporary artists featured in the Contemporary Art Purchasing Program of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, curated by Genesis Henriquez (Graphic Design ’16), Korey Richardson (Studio Art ’16), Shay Tyndall (English and Mandarin Chinese ’17)
  • Magnified : An exhibition of work by artists Chip Irvine and Michael Sylvan Robinson, curated by Carmen Dodl (Geographical Sciences ’16), Geena Gao (Information Systems and Economics ’16, and Martine Gaetan (Romance Languages ’15)

SPECIFICATIONS

The curator is looking for artwork in various media (photography and text based) with the specification that the work centers on portrayals of individuals, families, and groups in the context of the call outlined above.

The curator is also open to other media, as long as they relate importantly to photography, portraiture, and textual practices.

CURATOR

Katherine Mullineaux, B.A. English 2019: Minoring in Art History and Creative Writing, Kat is inspired by the interaction between visual creations and the written word, especially when used to examine the everyday. Born and raised in the DMV area, Kat has always been interested in what makes the city tick and loves to spend time exploring Washington, D.C. She hopes to work in the creative world continuing her employment in galleries and museums in the future.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Applicants must submit:

  • Artist’s Statement about specific works being submitted
  • Link to artist’s website (if applicable)
  • Proposed works with title and short description (up to 200 words), year of production, and medium)
    • Digital documentation of work

5-10 images/files (JPEG 72 dpi), video/audio clips should be shared as a

link to a streaming site (with password information as necessary)

PLEASE SUBMIT TO :  stampgallery@umd.edu

Artists are responsible for delivering finished work to the Stamp Gallery by May 26, 2018 and for picking up their work from the Stamp Gallery no earlier than the close of the exhibition in July 2018 and no later than August 5, 2018.

ABOUT THE STAMP GALLERY

The Stamp Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art with an emphasis on the work of emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery supports contemporary art that is challenging and/or academically engaging and that addresses broad community and social issues. The gallery serves by providing exhibitions of social responsibility and artistic substance, as well as by offering an educational forum in which dialogue between artist and viewer and art and community is encouraged.

The Stamp Gallery is located on the first floor of the Stamp Student Union (1220 Stamp Student Union, The Adele H. Stamp Student Union – Center for Campus Life, University of Maryland College Park, 20742). 301-314-8492, stampgallery@umd.edu

Summer Hours: Monday–Friday: 11 am until 6 pm


Iconography and Power: The Intersection of Reason and Belief

At its core, Kyle Kogut’s current exhibition in the Stamp Gallery, False Monarchy, deals with the intersection of ritual and commodity in American culture. The gallery has been transformed into a gothic playground of black car dealership flags, 90s style big box set televisions, and large scale drawings of auto industry icons, all of which frame the altar, a “tar” covered tree littered with offerings that would feel at home in the back of an old Chevy pickup.

Each piece in the show, from the TVs spewing a constant stream of drone metal music, to the intricately painted car-logos-turned-ritual-objects, has an intimate connection with hyper-consumerist culture and the occult. By taking images that are so widely associated with the automotive and technological industries (the Lincoln symbol, the Dodge Ram logo on the shirt hanging from the tree, the television sets, etc.) and renaming them as ritualistic or religious iconography, Kogut is making commentary on our obsession with these mass-produced objects, and the almost religious relationship that we as a society have with the industries that create them. Through the use of symbolism, the artist reasserts the importance of icons not just in religious settings, but in daily life as well. When visitors enter the gallery, the first thing they usually notice are the old TVs set up in the center of the room. These are familiar objects — many people grew up around them when they were considered to be the height of technology in the realm of media consumption. However, due to the fact that they are producing an ominous, continuous sound that permeates the gallery space, they create an unsettling atmosphere rather than one that is comfortable and recognizable. This subversion of familiar imagery with connections to occult practices leaves visitors feeling uneasy and questioning their connections with these symbols.

On a larger scale, Kogut connects these main themes of industry power, iconography, and our obsession with mass production to the current political climate in the US. The hyper-capitalism that is so pervasive in American society is proliferated by the close relationship between our head of state and the industries that control the majority of wealth in our country. Industrialization and the creation of “big business” has always been connected to economic growth and technological advancement, however, with an ever-widening gap between the working, middle, and upper classes, many are beginning to question our dependence on large industries as the “saving grace” for the economic hardship of the average person. This concept is eerily familiar in the wake of Donald Trump being elected president on the backs of working class individuals who saw him as an icon of wealth, power, and hope. Many of the lies that so frequently permeated his campaign revolved around his connection to large industries (such as the automotive industry, among others) as a way to lift the working class out of economic despair. However, as many quickly found out after he was elected into office, many of these remarks only served to reassert the power of the upper class and those in control of these industries. The connection between industry, the working class, and the deceiving nature of certain icons is succinctly reflected in the quote that greets visitors as they first enter the gallery. Taken directly from the Satanic Bible itself, it reads

“Whenever, therefore, a lie has built unto itself a throne, let it be assailed without pity and without regret, for, under the domination of an inconvenient falsehood, no one can prosper.”

            -Antonin Szandor LaVey, The Satanic Bible

The concept of a “lie [building] unto itself a throne” reflects the current administration and its foundation of deceiving the American people by posing as a false icon of hope. While the connection to the current political climate is not as blatant as other aspects of the show, it is reasserted through the subversion of familiar imagery found throughout the exhibition, and confirms the importance of iconography in the way that people perceive an idea (whether it be religious or political). Overall, False Monarchy does a wonderful job of making people second guess our dependence on mass produced imagery as a way to communicate ideas, and shows how harmful mass consumerism and industry dependence can be when allowed to go unchecked.

 

Come visit False Monarchy in The Stamp Gallery, running now through March 17th.

For more information on this show and upcoming events, visit http://thestamp.umd.edu/stamp_gallery

Written by Erin Allen


Interview with ‘False Monarchy’ Artist Kyle Kogut

Kyle Kogut | Exhibiting artist in solo show False Monarchy from January 24 through March 17, 2018 at The Stamp Gallery | University of Maryland, College Park | Interview by Grace DeWitt

false-monarchy-title.jpg

Walking into Kyle Kogut’s solo show, False Monarchy, at The Stamp Gallery.

Let’s start with some history. Where did you grow up? Where and what have you studied?

I grew up in a small town outside of Philadelphia, PA. I started making art at a very young age, and have been drawing for as long as I can remember. I ended up going to Tyler School of Art at Temple University and got my Bachelors of Fine Art degree and explored a range of mediums, but decided to focus in Printmaking. I was really attracted to the graphic flatness of screen printing and the tiny lines of etching, elements that are still prevalent in my work today. I was out of school for a few years and my work started to expand beyond drawing into animation and sculpture. I then got my Masters of Fine Art degree from the Mount Royal School of Art at MICA in Baltimore, where my work really grew and has informed much of my practice today. I started to experiment with video and performance, while continuing to create drawings and sculptures.

You often describe your work as autobiographical. Can you explain what processes or parts of your practice contribute to this sense autobiography?

My work draws upon narratives from my upbringing in a religious household and the life experience of my father as an auto mechanic, along with other elements of my life. I was raised Roman Catholic, attending mass every Sunday and played guitar in the Church band. In this one stained glass window at my Church growing up, I was always more attracted to how Lucifer was depicted as a dragon being conquered by the saint than the saint himself. While attending Catholic school I discovered horror films and heavy metal and became obsessed with dreadful imagery. I had a spiritual awakening at a young age and realized that I wasn’t drinking the kool-aid, so after a few terrible years in that environment I left and had a complete split with the church. My work comes from a very American Roman Catholic perspective, presenting an antithesis of the “In God We Trust” of a nationalist identity. Though many aspects of my religious upbringing, such as constant balance of good versus evil, imposed self-reflection, and a questioning of life’s meaning, still have an immense influence on my life and art. I also reflect upon my father’s life as an automechic and the labor of his life versus my life as an artist. My dad worked a lot growing up, always working two jobs to make ends meet and provide for my family. Seeing his experience as a blue collar worker has informed much of the imagery I utilize, elevating symbology from the automotive industry as relics to be worshiped as gods through an occult guise. I draw upon my history while attempting to present universal experiences.

Transitioning to The Stamp Gallery show, False Monarchy, can I ask what your thinking was behind the exhibition title?

The title is derived from Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, an appendix in Johann Weyer’s demonology manual from 1577, De praestigiis daemonum. The appendix lists the sixty-nine known demons, their characteristics, and how to conjure them. Much of my imagery draws upon historical depictions of demons as a representation of the Other, and the reality of demons to past cultures really fascinates me. While I was planning the exhibition I also spent a lot of time reflecting on Americans’ worship of jobs and the romanticisation of the working class in the rise of Donald Trump. The title was also a nod towards his absurd rise to power and exploitation of a disenfranchised demographic in this country. People now worship a monarchy founded on lies, an American dream that no longer exists, and an empty promise of a return to prosperity.

Visitors to False Monarchy often say that the show does not feel like a typical exhibition, but rather, a charged yet domestic space. There are no labels or traditional exhibition titling, print presentation is minimal, and there are animal crackers available at the docent desk. Can you talk a little bit about your intentions with the show’s atmosphere?

I hadn’t thought of the space as domestic but it’s interesting to hear viewers have had that reaction. I wanted viewers to enter the space and discover things for themselves, engulfing them in symbolism and imagery similarly to a church or other sacred space. I tend to let the work speak for itself, so we decided not to include titles and minimize other materials. I wanted the viewer to have a multi sensory experience, hearing, viewing, and tasting elements of the exhibition that will inform and play with each other. I wanted the video False Monarchy (A Ritual) to be its own entity, but also have the audio serve as the soundtrack for the entire space. A viewer would be looking at a drawing while hearing the drone metal, or eating an animal cracker while reading the prayer in the video, as if they were kneeling in a pew staring at Jesus on the cross, eating the Eucharist while hearing a psalm sung by a choir. Overall I want the space to be holy yet evil, comforting yet chaotic, familiar yet esoteric.

What was the process behind Capricho (Owner)? Were you referencing any particular objects or monuments as you created it?

false monarchy capricho

Kogut’s Capricho (Owner), right, and television playing False Monarchy (A Ritual) at False Monarchy in The Stamp Gallery.

The sculpture is an amalgamation of different motifs serving as the focal point of the space. The specific shape of the sculpture is a quote from an etching from Goya’s Disasters of War, Plate 39, titled ‘An heroic feat! With dead men!’ (Grande hazaña! Con muertos!). The image is haunting, with three dismembered corpses and body parts hung to a tree, depicting the horrors of  Napoleon’s invasion of Spain. The title is derived from the last section of the Disasters of War, the “emphatic caprices,” which depict absurd charactertures of the clergy and other people in positions of power. I translated that absurdity into the sculpture, creating a demon hand and using an abject t-shirt while quoting the body parts from the Goya print. The piece is also a place of worship or a shrine, with offerings and remembrances placed around the base. I was also thinking a lot about waste, fossil fuels, and sludge, covering the tree in an industrial tar.

This show has a vital symbolism element to it, most immediately recognized in the car company logos throughout the work. However, the hand seems to become a symbol in False Monarchy: it is physically placed as an object in Capricho (Owner) and then referenced through print on performance materials also displayed in the show. What inspired the hand as a repeated symbol, and how important was it for you to include both the physical hand and printed hand images together in this show?

I view the hand as a utensil for transformation, a channel for mystic practices, and a tool of labor. In many of my drawings I depict demons (I call them Friends), as a representation art historical archetypes for the Other, such as the faun, wildman and satyr while also referencing depictions of demons, devils and fiends; beings who possess power beyond human understanding. I see creating (particularly drawing) similar to a transformation sequence in a werewolf movie; a metamorphosis from human into something other.  I view the hand as possessing similar mysteries. I have always been drawn to the visual language of the hand, as they hold an expressive, universal vernacular.

The inclusion of the demon hand in Capricho (Owner) gave me an opportunity to explore new materials and processes that I have been wanting to utilize for some time. I cast my own drawing hand into silicone, and used my own hair to transform it a physical representation of the demon hands I have been drawing for years. While it also quoted the Goya image previously discussed, I also wanted it to loom over the viewers head; both blessing the viewer and being in a hierarchical position of power. The hand on the back of the mechanic’s suits is a quote from Éliphas Lévi’s depiction of Baphomet and reference to The Left Hand Path, a philosophy of magic that focuses on self empowerment and creation of personal dogmas.

false monarchy reception tv

Detail of Kogut’s Capricho (Owner), left, and television playing False Monarchy (A Ritual) following the opening performance for False Monarchy.

To what extent does humor play a part in the experience of False Monarchy?

Humor definitely plays a role in the work, but I’m never trying to hit you with a punchline. I try to poke fun at the absurdity of everyday life, history and the human condition. Like many occult practices, I try to use the carnival of powerful images to elicit a range of emotions, humor being one of them.

You’ve mentioned that the opening ritual for False Monarchy was the first public performance you have organized. Who influenced you as as you put together the words and actions of the performance, and what were your goals for its reception?

I was inspired by a range of real occult and religious practices and performance art. I studied the Satanic Black Mass and reflected upon my own childhood growing up in the Church. I wanted to use the psycho-drama of rituals to envelop the viewer in a real ceremony, forcing them to participate something that they may not have signed up. Much like being in a mass, I wanted the viewer to read the prayer and not necessarily have time to process what they were saying or hearing before the next line of prayer appeared on screen. I also wanted the viewer to give themselves over the priestesses of the ritual, feeding them a Eucharistic cracker and letting them drink the kool-aid (literally) of the cult in front of them. The prayer was a combination of passages from the Satanic Bible, Bruce Springsteen lyrics (who has always been seen as an American working-class hero), Dante’s Inferno, Faust, and a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier manual. I also looked at a lot of performances from artists Jen Rey and Hermann Nitsch, along with films by Kenneth Anger and Häxan: Witchcraft Throughout the Ages from 1922.

false monarchy reception crowd

Viewers and participants at the opening performance for False Monarchy.

You played drone sounds on guitar during the False Monarchy performance. Can you explain your personal connection to metal music or drone guitar? Have you included audio elements in previous exhibitions?

I discovered metal at a pivotal point in my life and it saved me in many ways. It helped me discover that there were other ways of thinking about spirituality and it never strayed away from the realities of life. It did not preach or promise salvation, but instead told me to discover those things in myself. It was scary, mystifying and fun, and sort of became a secret guilty pleasure of mine while I was in Catholic School. I would listen to Black Sabbath on the way to school, then had to transform into a different person when I walked through the school doors. It still has a profound influence on my life and art, both aesthetically and conceptually. I started playing guitar when I was around 12 and mostly learned the standard classic rock tunes, then started to teach myself Black Sabbath chords. It really amplified my interest in metal as I could now participate myself; I was now a member of the club, of the church or cult. But that dichotomy still persisted, as I also joined the youth band at my church and provided songs for the mass twice a month.

As I grew older I strayed from the dogma of the Church, but played in the band until I left for college. I’ve played in a few bands exploring other genres of music, but somehow it always comes back to metal. Most recently I’ve been listening to a lot of drone metal, and have become fascinated with the moments of lingering feedback and the repetitive mantra of a chord. I’m interested in how we fill those empty spaces and what psychological transformations can happen.

I have done one other performance where I played live guitar. For my last solo exhibition I filmed myself performing a ritual in which I played the Devil’s Tritone for 66 minutes and 6 seconds. I was standing in a magick circle with only my guitar and amplifier, using the performance as a ritual to focus my will and conjure whatever was listening. The Devil’s Tritone is a medieval chord progression used in occult practices, but is also a foundation for contemporary heavy metal and rock music, most notably in Black Sabbath’s song Black Sabbath of their debut titular album.

I understand that you embrace influence from the Renaissance and Romantic eras. Were there any artists from these periods, other than Goya, who impacted False Monarchy in particular?

I most notably reference the works of the Northern Renaissance, the movement of art making that occured north of Alps during the 1400s-1700s. I reference the draughtsmanship of masters such as Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein, along with the focus on peasant life from Pieter Bruegel the Elder. I’m also extremely influenced by the hellscapes, monsters and fiends of Hieronymus Bosch. I’m also inspired by countless other artists from across history, such as William Blake, Philip Guston, and Trenton Doyle Hancock.

What was the greatest challenge you experienced when putting False Monarchy together?

I think the biggest challenge for any artist is having the time and resources to make work while functioning in the “real” world. Along with making art I teach and work other jobs to make ends meet, so the biggest hardship gearing up for any show is balancing other responsibilities while refocusing your dedication to the work.

If you could describe the “take-away” from False Monarchy in one phrase or one feeling, what would that be?

To reflect upon how our country has gotten to the point where it is, to contemplate how images play a significant role in shaping our identity, and to question the so-called truths that have shaped our hypocritical theocracies.

false monarchy tv

Still of Kogut’s False Monarchy (A Ritual), in The Stamp Gallery.

Do you see your work heading in any particular direction at this point? Any particular impulses you feel you will follow after your experience with False Monarchy?

I definitely want to stage more performances in the future. I learned a great deal from this experience and can see them getting bigger with more performers.

Any advice for undergraduate artists such as those studying at this university? Anything you would tell your younger self as you entered the arts?

My advice for young artists in a university program is to really cherish the time that you have to focus on making. Never forget that you are paying to be there, so always explore every opportunity that is presented, whether that be a lecture to attend or a crit from a visiting artist. Build a foundation of dedication to your work and don’t waste your time. When you get out of school, reality hits hard. I would also advise to build a network of classmates that you can rely on after you graduate, as finding a community can be difficult outside of a facilitated art school setting.

To close, is there anything else you’d like to promote here? Any other current or upcoming shows you’re participating in?

I currently have work in Quinn Likes Trucks at Transmitter in Brooklyn that is on view until March 25th. I’m also curating a show of two artist’s work at Fjord Gallery in Philadelphia. Other Bodies, featuring work by Emily Culver and Elliot Doughtie, will be opening June 7th. I would also like to use these closing remarks to thank Raino Isto for doing such a phenomenal job curating the show and writing a fantastic essay on my work. It was really an honor to work with him and his dedication to the project made the show possible. I would also like to thank Stamp Gallery for hosting the exhibition and the docent staff. Thank you also to my performers Miranda, Chelsea, Selina, and you, Grace.

False Monarchy is open to the public from January 24, 2018 through March 17, 2018 at The Stamp Gallery of the University of Maryland, College Park. A recording of the opening performance for False Monarchy can be viewed at www.facebook.com/StampGalleryUMD/videos.

Kogut will join False Monarchy curator Raino Isto for an artist talk in The Stamp Gallery on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at 6:30 pm.

For more information on Kyle Kogut, visit www.kylekogut.com.

For more information on False Monarchy, upcoming artist talk with Kogut, and related events, visit www.thestamp.umd.edu/gallery.

false monarchy red

Kogut, preparing for the opening performance of False Monarchy in The Stamp Gallery. False Monarchy will be open to the public through March 17, 2018. Image courtesy of curator Raino Isto.

 

 

 

 


On the Occult and Gallery Library

“Something that once had importance might be forgotten by most people but because millions of people once knew it, a force is present that can be harnessed. There might be so much significance attached to a song, for example, or a fact, that it can’t die but only lies dormant, like a vampire in his coffin, waiting to be called forth from the grave once again.”

 Anton Szandor LaVey, The Secret Life of a Satanist: The Authorized Biography of Anton LaVey

IMG_3071

This quote by the author of The Satanic Bible succinctly describes the appeal of the occult. Artifacts of a spiritual nature seem to possess hidden energies—they have the power to conjure up ideas of morality and existence, heavy thoughts that arouse a state of introspection or hostility. The appeal of the occult is the appeal of False Monarchy, but with an edgier twist. The artist Kyle Kogut marries demonic symbols with car-related objects in his artwork and immerses it all in the drone metal sounds of his guitar. The corrosive music, obsolete televisions, black slender candles and other objects of this exhibition speak of the creator’s own interactions with the occult and of the associated cultures.

The gallery as of now can be likened to a room belonging to a teenager in the midst of the ‘Satanic Panic’ of the 1980’s, complete with a tree to leave offerings at. In this curious room are curious books on well-known artists such as William Blake and Francisco Goya, individuals who were enthralled by the darker aspects of religions. There are also books on demons and other ominous beings. There is an alcove where visitors can curl up on a sofa chair and read The Satanic Bible or whatever they wish from the pop-up library. Who knows what esoteric messages might be lurking between the pages, lying dormant and waiting to be rediscovered by a gallery visitor.

IMG_3067

Come experience the False Monarchy exhibition and pop-up library in The Stamp Gallery, happening now through March 17th, 2018. 

Written by Cristy Ho


Call for Artists: Stamp Gallery Summer Docent-Curated Exhibition

CALL FOR ARTISTS

Application Deadline | March 31st

Notification Date | April 10th

Exhibition Dates | May 30th – July 2018

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

Washington, D.C., the political capital of The United States, is often portrayed as merely a series of federal bureaucratic institutions. These representations ignore the diverse collection of men and women living and working in the city. This exhibition is fueled by a curiosity about what it means to be a person in the nation’s capital in the present moment of global and political tension. This show seeks to question what the reality of everyday life is like for citizens of the capital of one of the most powerful nations in the world. What lies under the image of power? What does it mean to exist in a time when major political shifts trigger both movements of hate and of acceptance? How do artists engage with different identities in such a place and time?

The curator of the exhibition seeks photography (or works closely related to photography and the tradition portraiture) and text-based works (poetry, narrative, etc.) that explore the experience of existing in Washington D.C. The exhibition seeks in particular to highlight the viewpoints of young female artists whose works explore the implications of Washington, D.C. life through portrayals of individuals, families, or groups. Works might consider the disparity between larger political institutions and individual realities, the intersection of race and gender in everyday life and/or the results of gentrification.  Artists are encouraged to consider how scale and use of material can contribute their engagements with the topics described.. The works submitted should focus on the present or recent past of life in Washington, D.C. (a sort of ‘D.C. Today’) but may also examine the ways that past moments or movements live on in the present.       

The curator will select a small group of artists whose work she feels critically and creatively engages the exhibition concept outlined above to exhibit their work at the Stamp Gallery, a contemporary art space located in the University of Maryland-College Park’s Adele H. Stamp Student Union–Center for Campus Life. Any existing works must have been completed within the last 2 years to be considered. Undergraduate artists are strongly encouraged to apply. A PDF form of this call is available here

This exhibition is the Stamp Gallery’s annual undergraduate-curated exhibition. Previous shows in the series include:

  • I’m Fine: The works in I’m Fine examine and respond to the following questions How does creativity alleviate or intensify emotion? In what ways does art comment on—and participate in—mental health and self-care? To what extent is art a mouthpiece for the mind in flux or an independent and evolving entity? Curated by Stamp Gallery docents Tasiana Paolisso (B.S. Architecture ‘18) Sarah Schurman (B.A. English ‘17).
  • Paradise Now : A game of unequal circumstances and varying objectives by Baltimore-based artist Kimi Hanauer, featuring collaborations with Sydney Spann, Michael Stephens, and Nikki Lee, curated by Christopher Bugtong (Computer Science and Film Studies ’17), Grace DeWitt (Animal Science and Studio Art ’17), and Shay Tyndall (English and Mandarin Chinese ’17)
  • In Response: An exhibition showcasing the artwork of University of Maryland undergraduate students inspired by contemporary artists featured in the Contemporary Art Purchasing Program of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union, curated by Genesis Henriquez (Graphic Design ’16), Korey Richardson (Studio Art ’16), Shay Tyndall (English and Mandarin Chinese ’17)
  • Magnified : An exhibition of work by artists Chip Irvine and Michael Sylvan Robinson, curated by Carmen Dodl (Geographical Sciences ’16), Geena Gao (Information Systems and Economics ’16, and Martine Gaetan (Romance Languages ’15)

SPECIFICATIONS

The curator is looking for artwork in various media (photography and text based) with the specification that the work centers on portrayals of individuals, families, and groups in the context of the call outlined above.

The curator is also open to other media, as long as they relate importantly to photography, portraiture, and textual practices.

CURATOR

Katherine Mullineaux, B.A. English 2019: Minoring in Art History and Creative Writing, Kat is inspired by the interaction between visual creations and the written word, especially when used to examine the everyday. Born and raised in the DMV area, Kat has always been interested in what makes the city tick and loves to spend time exploring Washington, D.C. She hopes to work in the creative world continuing her employment in galleries and museums in the future.

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

Applicants must submit:

  • Artist’s Statement about specific works being submitted
  • Link to artist’s website (if applicable)
  • Proposed works with title and short description (up to 200 words), year of production, and medium)
    • Digital documentation of work

5-10 images/files (JPEG 72 dpi), video/audio clips should be shared as a

link to a streaming site (with password information as necessary)

PLEASE SUBMIT TO :  stampgallery@umd.edu

Artists are responsible for delivering finished work to the Stamp Gallery by May 26, 2018 and for picking up their work from the Stamp Gallery no earlier than the close of the exhibition in July 2018 and no later than August 5, 2018.

ABOUT THE STAMP GALLERY

The Stamp Gallery is dedicated to the exhibition of contemporary art with an emphasis on the work of emerging and mid-career artists. The gallery supports contemporary art that is challenging and/or academically engaging and that addresses broad community and social issues. The gallery serves by providing exhibitions of social responsibility and artistic substance, as well as by offering an educational forum in which dialogue between artist and viewer and art and community is encouraged.

The Stamp Gallery is located on the first floor of the Stamp Student Union (1220 Stamp Student Union, The Adele H. Stamp Student Union – Center for Campus Life, University of Maryland College Park, 20742). 301-314-8492, stampgallery@umd.edu

Summer Hours: Monday–Friday: 11 am until 6 pm