Worms Are the Words at Lump | Visual Art | Indy Week
Pin It

Worms Are the Words at Lump 

Spirituality and kitsch

click to enlarge A candle from the installation "Worms Are the Words" at Lump Gallery. - PHOTO COURTESY OF LUMP GALLERY

Worms Are the Words
Joy Feasley and Paul Swenbeck
Lump Gallery
Through March 20

One of the first works you encounter upon entering Worms Are the Words, the current show at Lump Gallery, is a dreamy little mountain landscape painting by Joy Feasley titled "You made me so very happy," mistily rendered in chalky neon colors. It depicts a fantastical mountainous canyon with waterfalls cascading from vast alpine heights. There are a few of these landscape paintings in the show, all portraying a hinterland of both cutesiness and kitsch. They are tricky works to pull off, as they tread into territory rife with loaded historical cliché and landscape painting's own storied history and fascination with nature's sublime grandeur.

Although the paintings are striking enough on their own, with their nostalgic composition and the odd wistfulness the artist manages to bestow, in spite of a pretty weird color palette, it is the works' thematic place within the show that is the driving interest. In Feasley's collaborative work with her husband, Paul Swenbeck, the pair consistently strikes a balancing act between bohemian content and theistic context, thus setting the fundamental agenda for this exhibition. The show's ambition hinges on disparate faith-based parts, media and themes, and our willingness to connect the dots between them. While the show is comprised largely of painting and sculpture, it quickly extends beyond those traditional boundaries to form a highly eccentric installation.

The artists call upon Wicca, paganism and other unsanctioned nature-based religions, deeming them all equally fair game for exploration. A solar oven included in the show stands like a survivalist's reliquary: a clamshell pair of dish-shaped mirror-tiled circles fringed with assorted ceramic offering bowls. (One of Swenbeck's fortes is in fact ceramics, and here he bestows George Ohr-like funkiness to his terra cotta and Egyptian paste works at will.) Swenbeck and Feasley have also taken a unifying cue from the restrained design of the Shakers, the Protestant religious sect that dates to the 1700s and is renowned for their design simplicity and spare lifestyle. The Spartan Shaker aesthetic is exemplified in the gallery's wall-mounted wood railing with pegs and brackets supporting the paintings and a few mixed-media works. At the gallery's middle section, a Shaker-inspired wood stove with faceted angular faces has an exhaust pipe that runs up and through a wall. It transforms itself on the other side into a withering deflated balloon shape that winds it way into a freestanding, glowing fiberglass-wrapped form looking like a funky visitor from another planet. Call this the UFO portion of the show. Yet with a little suspended disbelief, it fits within the artists' quirky cosmic mysticism.

Another intriguing painting called "Orion" depicts the famed nighttime constellation. Rendered exquisitely in engraved resin, it expresses a spirit of cosmic ethereality, a certain awe of nature and wonder that has so often captivated the human imagination in art. Looking at this splendid little painting, I glimpsed our own primal spiritual fascinations at work, coaxing out at least a little of the magic on display.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in Visual Art



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

So glad to see Edgerton's painting exhibited and appreciated. He is a North Carolina living treasure. …

by Sharon B on Clyde Edgerton, Painter? A Noted North Carolina Novelist Gets Visual with Photographer John Rosenthal. (Visual Art)

Great article! Good luck DAM!

by J.P. McPickleshitter on In The Carrack’s Former Digs, Durham Artists Movement Creates a Safe Space for Diverse Voices (Visual Art)

We have a well-equipped infrastructure which is supported by technologically advanced machines and tools that allow us to offer latest …

by Sumit Chaudhary on Chris Bradley finds creative opportunities in the simplest of objects in Close One at CAM Raleigh (Visual Art)

I believe one of the artists mentioned is actually Sally Van Gorder, not Gordon.

by MH on A novel agreement between a landlord and artists gives Raleigh a new art space (Visual Art)

I remember when SAJ had her Tree Planting exhibit at the John Hope Franklin Center years ago. The most amazing …

by Pamela Gutlon on In the provocative exhibit Wonderland, Sarah Anne Johnson turns sex and nature inside-out (Visual Art)

Comments

So glad to see Edgerton's painting exhibited and appreciated. He is a North Carolina living treasure. …

by Sharon B on Clyde Edgerton, Painter? A Noted North Carolina Novelist Gets Visual with Photographer John Rosenthal. (Visual Art)

Great article! Good luck DAM!

by J.P. McPickleshitter on In The Carrack’s Former Digs, Durham Artists Movement Creates a Safe Space for Diverse Voices (Visual Art)

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation