Kayla Guthrie, "Book of Shadows", Young Art, LA
June 30 - July 28, 2012
Young Art is pleased to present Book of Shadows, an exhibition by New York-based artist, musician and writer Kayla Guthrie. The show's title refers to a Neopagan religious handbook containing such things as theological texts, directions for magical spells, and notes on lunar and solar cycles. Self-compiled by practitioners out of materials passed down by tradition, the book can be both journal and manual: identifying and engaging broad metaphysical influences and interpreting their effects on a personal scale through a system of eclectic beliefs.
In this exhibition, the contours of urban psychic space are processed through this theme of personalized metaphysics, with a series of 6 wall texts that capture moments in a peripatetic, broken narrative of interiorized reflections set against a metropolitan backdrop. Written in the first person, they describe the activation of inner states and dramatize their associative flow in concert with the external world of New York: feeling subordinated on a visit to the High Line, disaffected while at home checking email, or contemptuous when wandering the streets of Soho. But in the text these young city-dweller's problems occur alongside digressive instances of almost synesthetic illumination, and the story comes delivered in crafted prose, succinctly framing the nameless narrator's dissociative episodes and intuitive flashes.
If the definition of "spell" as a magic ritual can be shifted to its alternate meaning, in the sense of a bout or episode, this is a collection of "spells" as words formulized to capture chunks of time and memory: documents of experience which are both quantifiable in their functional literariness, constructed in the logic of a story, and intangible as a dispatch in hindsight from the ineffable realms of daydreams and poetic vision.
The show also incorporates a one-night musical performance by Guthrie, singing from an original repertoire of pre-recorded tracks created by herself and collaborators. During gallery hours, a stage area with speakers installed will play a sampling of her poetic and musical recordings.