Dancers Among Us: Photographs by Jordan Matter
opens October 17!
Gothic Glenview through November 1
The creepy, the unnerving, the very sense that
some presence lurks nearby – all connote the
“Gothic” encompasses dark romanticism. At Victorian
Glenview, the ebonized wood in the Library
shows this same romanticism in high Victorian
ornamentation, as does its exterior tower and
narrow, slit windows.
The Victorians projected their deep
emotions, tragic or romantic, in a “Cult of
Mourning.” Sending their loss outwards, they
wore clothes made of black crepe for years after
a loss, created jewelry made from the hair of
deceased loved ones, and covered their mirrors.
Today the Victorian interiors of Glenview
are the ideal setting for six contemporary works
by artists from Yonkers’ YOHO Artists Studios.
They have created art, visual and auditory,
that ruminates on the idea of death, and, more
universally, on the enduring link between loss
and the experience of being human.
YOHO Artists INVADE the Museum
Temps Perdu 2015
In her essay “That Mighty Sculptor Time,” Marguerite Yourcenar wrote of Greek statues found at the bottom of the sea and brought up into the air decayed, broken, with clusters of shells and sea life clinging to them—forever transformed. She makes clear the ability of time to effortlessly and carelessly alter creations of man’s hand. What we are then left with is beauty made of transformed fragments of the past. It is this notion of fragmentary beauty created by time that inspired this installation.
The painted lettering on the muslin that covers the walls of Glenview’s Dining Room is made of rust gathered from decaying sculptures—a remnant of this artist’s creative endeavors. The rust was made into a dye to transcribe sections of Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche Du Temps Perdu onto the muslin. The muslin serves as a way to protect this space with Proust’s reconstruction of his past.
The Dining Table centerpiece is composed of “leaves” on which are written names of departed loved ones contributed for this work.
Surprise, Surprise 2015
From the series On Matters of Life & Death Studio Deer Moses
A sculpture in two parts, it explores our “surprised” experience of life and death and invites you to question your own references to death and mourning as it relates to your life.
Drawing inspiration from celebratory candles on a birthday cake as well as the flame of a single memorial or remembrance candle, the sculpture is made of easily found (manufactured) lighting materials to emphasize that our understanding of life and death, often preconceived (manufactured), causes us to forget that the two experiences of living and dying are one and the same, and a collective component of our ongoing existence.
To place this sculpture in Glenview, the artwork and furniture in the Great Hall were removed in accordance with the mourning tradition of covering mirrors and portraits. While the home’s Victorian architecture and decorative elements may be seen as a reference to the past (as in those who have passed i.e., died), the Hall’s now deliberately bare and naked quality represents life, as in giving birth to new ideas or a naked newborn.
and Fish Sentinels 2015
Autumnal rituals of honoring the dead are celebrated in many cultures. The Mexican Day of the Dead celebrates departed souls as they return for a short time every November. Families gather to honor their ancestors but in doing so they also celebrate life by acknowledging its transience. Families dance with caricatures of death and children eat sugar skulls. In this way they learn to enjoy life and not fear death.
In this same spirit, Fish Ghost (projected above on the skylight) and Fish Sentinels (a pair of inkjet prints on the stair landing) honor the dead. The fish of the Hudson River have sustained and nurtured generations of people living on its banks. In these works the ghosts of the river's fish return for a moment to watch over us, protect us, and remind us that we are all a part of the circle of life.
Death and the Maiden
Composed for an illustration, this image, made of porcelain on asphalt paper and board, is as enduring as the superstition it portrays. Since the Middle Ages, some have believed that the dead rise up at night to dance on their graves, so they may lure the living to dance with them, and, then dance into their own graves.
Here a skeleton, the personification of death, holds the hand of a living girl as the “dance of death” or “dance macabre” unfolds. The image of this dance became an artistic genre that appeared in illustrated sermons and then was first visually recorded as a mural in Paris in the 14th century. It is an image that testifies to the universality of death and reminds us that the glories of our fragile, earthly lives are themselves vanity.
Dancing With Death
If I were going to dance with death, this is what I would wear.
The formal gown is reimagined and the versatility of the feather is tested. Pheasant feathers are overdyed, pleated, twisted, sliced, diced, fanned, and frayed, with each technique producing a different texture and color. The attention to detail and the layering of patterns, textures, and colors echo the rich design elements of Glenview. While the gown is constructed to be worn, it stands here empty, fragmented, weathered, and curious. It has a story, a ghost.