Newark, NJ– City Without Walls is pleased to present Sanctiloquence, a three-person, collaborative new media exhibition featuring works by Marc D’Agusto, Eric Valosin and Russ Wills. An opening reception will be held on January 19, 2017, 6-9pm.
Sanctiloquence means speaking of holy things. The exhibition reflects the artists’ common desire to probe the unknowable and seek the sublime amidst a post-modernized context, by converting the gallery into a technologically mediated sacred space. The work draws on a diverse range of spiritual traditions entertaining themes of technologically mediated contemplative experience, the role of the body, cycles of decay and revitalization, and virtual-physical-material transcendence and transformation. Incorporating Zen Buddhist, Judeo-Christian, Islamic, and various other Eastern and Western religious and philosophical influences, this show seeks to rupture the sacred/secular divide and allow viewers to dwell within the commonalities of shared experience.
Given the current social-political climate, it has become increasingly important to create spaces that bridge gaps across different perspectives and facilitate relational dialogue.
“Across the country artists are responding to the current socio-political climate and crisis we are experiencing. This exhibition provides a unique and important, alternative lens in which to contemplate this moment that has been building for some time,” said cWOW Executive Director fayemi shakur.
Through its blending of new and traditional media and the relational aesthetics created, Sanctiloquence provides an interactive space to compel us toward greater empathy and awareness of the sacred, reflecting on the past, present and future. D’Agusto, Valosin, and Wills have plied together their own various theological backgrounds as well as their respective practices of sculpture, installation, drawing, painting, projection, interactive new media, photography and glass to create individual, two-way, and three-way collaborative pieces for the show.
“We all played an equal role in selecting the works. The heart of the show isn’t about religion but it is about faith, empathy and bridging gaps. I’ve found so much kinship in a variety of people of different faiths. What is unfortunately happening in this current political climate and what we’re seeing in our country and our world is that we are being divided when we should be living in a place of freedom and beauty. I want us to take a look at each other, what we have in common and how we relate to others. As I worked with Eric and Russ, we have a lot of commonalities and quite a few differences but, we acknowledge them and own them. It was exciting to me to see the art itself reconcile those differences in a way that was healing,” said curator and artist Marc D’Agusto.
The main room is anchored by “Excavation.TransFormation”, a zen sandbox inspired collaboration between Valosin and D’Agusto that fluoresces in response to the viewers’ interaction with the sand. Viewers create topographical compositions that get projected onto the nearby sculpture and onto the sandboxes in the next room. Also in the main room is a collaboration between Valosin and Wills involving a blend of painting and projection that changes in response to the viewer and the glass through which the imagery is projected. The room also features individual works by each of the three artists.
In the same way that mandalas are often representations of temple floor plans, the gallery space itself has been converted into a mandala temple structure of sorts, creating a second room that acts as a “holy of holies,” or “inner sanctum.” Inside is a three-way collaboration of projection onto an altar-like apse/mihrab/gothic arch/reliquary, as well as the two additional projection sandboxes. While viewers respond to the sand to form the projection in the first room, they may respond to the projection to form the sand in the next room, exploring the outward manifestations of interiority, and the interconnectedness of meditative expression.
Sanctiloquence attempts to create space for sacred or holy discourse, in which viewers may reimagine their relationship to that space, to each other, and to the self, mediated by contemporary technology, and reaching across differences that too often needlessly divide rather than unite.
Sanctiloquence will be on view through March 18, 2017.
Programs and Events
The Newark Center for Meditative Culture offers a free meditation program every Wednesday evening at cWOW, 7-8:30pm. For more information email [email protected] or [email protected]
About City Without Walls
City Without Walls (cWOW) is New Jersey’s oldest alternative art space. Our mission is to advance the careers of artists, expand the audience for contemporary art and provide opportunities for arts education and community engagement.
City Without Walls is the grateful recipient of donations and grant support from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, the City of Newark, and individual contributors. City Without Walls is located at 6 Crawford Street in Newark’s historic Lincoln Park neighborhood. The gallery is open Wednesday through Saturday, 12—6pm and by appointment.