Untameable Magic: Allegories of Nature and Culture
featuring: BASSIM AL SHAKER JOHN BUCK PATRICK DUEGAW CALEB WEINTRAUB
January 29 - March 6, 2021
Installation: Untameable Magic: Allegories of Nature and Culture
“For magic consists in this, the true naming of a thing.” ― Ursula K. LeGuin, A Wizard of Earthsea
Think of magic as an altered type of energy. Then you can see that what magicians do is temper that energy rather than performing the alteration themselves. So, too, in art, where we like to refer to artists of a certain bent as “magicians.” Ursula LeGuin’s celebrated definition of the sorcerer’s power residing in the ability to address the hidden names of things (in that case, a dragon), is a function of storytelling. What, though, of the painter or sculptor whose personages, and/or the settings in which they are encountered, seem enchanted?
Untameable Magic brings together four artists whose use of the figure seems to defy categorization, in settings whose torqued spaces seem also to defy logics of space and distance or, in the case of the sculptures here, to defy gravity. The artistic projects here are driven by uses of visual allegories: for Patrick Duegaw, the labors of Hercules; for Bassim al Shaker, political allegories vis-à-vis Iraq; for John Buck, martial symbols both East and West, and for Caleb Weintraub, the reenchanting of technological detritus. In every case we are brought to a standstill by the vividness of apparitions we are hardly able to name. ― Buzz Spector, 2021