Exhibition Dates: June 8 – August 3, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, June 8, 2012 from 7-10:00pm
According to the Hungarian folklorist and ethnographer, Mihály Hoppál, among the many responsibilities accorded to the traditional mystic was keeper of the tribe’s story, the history of its creation, and the source of its strength. The painters, sculptors, and video artists featured in this new CUAC show, a number from or living in Utah, reinvent that role for themselves, calling attention to the ambiguities of both creativity and mysticism while also invoking the shaman’s important role as the community’s first artist.
Fidalis Buehler, an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at BYU, creates seemingly simple portraits using complex styles, embroidering a childlike temperament with an awareness of ethnic identity and indigenous ritual. Fionn McCabe creates fabulously complex images that weave together elements of graphic novels, pop culture, and fine art to explore the source of creativity and the distinction between high and lowbrow. Allan Ludwig, also on the Fine Arts faculty at BYU, draws from science fiction and role playing games to fashion magical objects that permit the viewer entry into another world. Conceptual artist and filmmaker Tyrone Davies employs new media to question the role of technology in entertainment and examine the ways it shapes or alters our perception of creativity and creation narratives. And Art Morrill works with found objects, including old scraps of wood and discarded cardboard, to produce works reminiscent of graffiti art that probe the vulnerability of our heroes.
In contrast to the hardened cynic or the hidebound authority, the word “mystic” emerges from the Greek μυστικός, which originally meant someone who is a beginner or initiate to the mysteries. These artists, each in their own unique way, point us back to that first sense of the word, directing us toward our own human frailties and vulnerabilities. Their work suggests that these supposed imperfections may, in fact, be genuine strengths—and for the artist especially, the very source of his or her greatest creativity.