Gary Spinosa Opening at Edinboro College's Bruce Gallery

Submitted by lmcshane on Wed, 01/31/2007 - 13:41.
01/31/2007 - 13:33
02/22/2007 - 13:33

Opening Jan 31st-February 22nd, 2007

This exhibition is a retrospective covering over four decades of Spinosa’s work.

Excerpt from  The Return of  Ritual by Charlotte H. Wellman:

The Master took a wooden statue of the Buddha and made a fire with it. When someone criticized him for doing so, the Master said: “I burned it in order to extract the sacred relics it contained.” The man said: “But how can you extract the sacred relics from an ordinary piece of wood?” The Master replied: “If it is nothing more than an ordinary piece of wood, then why scold me for burning it?”

This anecdote about the Zen monk of Danxia underscores what people in the art world instinctively know: while art works are inanimate forms, they possess a spiritual resonance that places them in an altogether different realm from ordinary objects. Yet as we have moved into the modern age, we have lost this sense of art’s sacred character.We acknowledge that a sculpture might be a “piece of wood” and yet we resist referring to it as a “sacred relic.” Somehow, the work of art is betwixt and between the two extremes, neither dead wood nor ceremonial icon. The art object’s status has been further complicated, virtually since the introduction of the printing press, by its dialogue with new technologies. What makes art art, in the wake of Clive Bell and Roger Fry’s formalism, is the conversion of art’s sacred origins into more overtly aesthetic preoccupations.

In the postmodern age, works of art have, perhaps, lost their animistic patina. At the same time, postmodern theory has also undertaken a close dissection of what John Berger once called the work of art’s “mystification.” Originally this mystification referred to the sacred character of the site-specific relic or altarpiece. However, Berger argues, the aura of mystery shrouding venerated works is now bred not by the masterpiece’s inherent qualities, but rather by a preciousness conferred on the art work by historians, critics and, above all, by the market. While Berger questions the authenticity of an artwork’s mystifying potential, this sacred, ceremonial quality emerges as an essential dimension of sculptor Gary Spinosa’s art. Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Spinosa has lived and worked in western Pennsylvania for nearly twenty-five years. His speech is still inflected with a southern twang. While Spinosa earned degrees in sculpture from the Cleveland Institute of Art and from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, his art works evoke the feel and impact of sacred artifacts. Around 1974, Spinosa began to build towers of budding forms that alluded to regeneration and metamorphosis. Animals – cows, bulls, elephants, fish, whales, waterfowl—begat other, similar forms. Spinosa’s roots in Catholicism have inspired an expressive, attenuated Christ recalling the Rottgen Pieta or Hans Nolde’s agonized martyrs. Between 1986 and 1988, Spinosa produced statuesque mummies, their contours evoking the curve of upright leaves, their faces emerging from columns of twigs and winding cloths. Towers and portals followed. Often these were paired with animal forms and militaristic references. The “stones,” which Spinosa started making about 1970, are generally intimate, palm-sized porcelains combining human and animal references in shallow, iridescent surfaces. To date, Spinosa has crafted more than two thousand of them, and they have proved the most arresting and collected of Spinosa’s artworks.

Location Edinboro, PA
United States
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Spinosa show sounds great

Thanks for posting this - I really like Spinosa's work. The site at Bruce Gallery is really cool. There are directions to the gallery posted here.

Disrupt IT