EGOMYSTICAL at The Living Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Solo pop-up installation
The painted and spinning mannequins, colored light projections, video performances, and hypnotic beat of EGOMYSTICAL create a portal where artist Joshua Gabriel alchemizes his ego into a hybrid space of color, light, movement, and music. The exhibition is inspired by the idea that our egoic journey is guided and permeated by the mystical and spiritual planes of existence toward the goal of self-knowledge, and ultimately transcendence into the greater consciousness.
One wall of the gallery is taken up with a shrine-like arrangement. A mannequin found in the attic of the artist’s mother stands in the center, covered in spray paint and drawings, and illuminated by moving and highly saturated video projections. These projections are made from joshuagabriel’s pattern of hand drawn line-work (which is scanned, colored in Photoshop, animated in Premiere, then unleashed onto physical space). The central figure is flanked by two painted mannequin busts spinning endlessly on hidden turntables. This trio creates an altar composed of figurative objects which have been personalized by the artist’s hand; the rotating, generic humanoid heads a symbol of the repetition of our daily lives but also the cyclical nature of life.
On the opposite wall a video performance of the artist posing within projections sits in an arch shape, surrounded by a symmetrical arrangement of painted vinyl records, which slowly spin on the wall. In the public sphere, and now on social media, we project an idealized version of ourselves to the seemingly external society. jG takes the inherent narcissism of being human in our hyper-capitalist, dystopian society and turns it into a ritual of self-mythology; casting his own drawings back onto his body and then projecting it onto the gallery wall. The pandemic makes an appearance in the large canvas Masked Spirit - in which a giant face rendered with thick lines of metallic gold ink looks out from the picture plane into the collective eye; it’s mouth and nose covered with a Covid mask. Elsewhere a full mannequin spins slowly through infinity lit by more colored light projections, which also seep onto the gallery floor. The mid-sized room pulses with slow, droning original music in waltz time, the song You’ve Been Lying Again by the artist’s musical alter ego J-Mythos and collaborator adrienne maree brown on vocals.
EGOMYSTICAL is an exploration of the purpose of the ego within the esoteric traditions, a journey through mediums to find the artist’s place in a sacred lineage of truth-seekers, mystics, and heretics.