Exhibition - Nierika: Santuario Somático by Edgar Fabian Frias

Sunday, Mar 8, 2020 at 12:00pm

8371 North Interstate Avenue
Portland, OR 97217


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Drawing on their indigenous, queer, pagan, witchy, mutagenic, and chimerica identities, Edgar Fabián Frías presents an installation comprised of digital prints, custom-designed ready-made objects, and screen-based and projected video. The Nierika is a sacred woven portal known as "Ojo de Dios" in Spanish, or "Eye of God" in English. An object used by the Wixárika people as an amulet, talisman and tool for accessing spiritual magic, it expresses the idea of integration and a “binding together”. For the artist it represents a link to the larger world through ecology, community, and spirituality, and how hybridized identities are bound within the self. It is the core of the journey and the icon of self-discovery.

Frías' work is visually playful, using kitsch imagery that is equally at home in pop-gif animations, and irreverent internet memes, as it is in on the label of New Age tonics, or self-help books. But the work goes further, consciously playing between attractive and repulsive polities in our minds.  Images of sacred animals, shamanic figures, clowns, aliens, and the artist's own body are liminal characters in society with profound capacities for traversing multiple spaces and inhabiting multiple forms simultaneously.  Bright and jovial on the surface, they reveal a sense of fear and cognitive dissonance that proves powerful in reshaping narratives around religion, spirituality, and polymorphic identities.

Frías grew up in a religious community and, upon being forced to leave the church, experienced a deep void within them. They've since been engaged in the cultivation of a community of practitioners dedicated to rectifying the damage done by religion, and reconnecting with it through aesthetic and participatory means.  Through this work, and through guided ceremonies and participatory performances, visitors can begin to navigate their own consciousness in new ways. It is with these values of mindfulness, and experiential approaches to engagement, that we present two rituals during the opening weekend of Nierika: Santuario Somático.
On the evening of February 1st, the artist will lead an Opening Ceremony with an Energy Body Mist Intention Setting, a participatory ritual, during which Frías will use essential oils, spring water, quartz, flower essences, and psychic intention setting to produce a community-sourced energy body mist. This  mist, crafted by Frías, will be ceremoniously and collectively imbued with the intentions of the visiting public.  All who enter the gallery will be invited to add their intentions to this vessel.

On February 2nd, in collaboration with partner organization c3:initiative, the artist will facilitate an Intro to Divination Practices for Creatives, where they will learn about divinatory practices as a whole, and the ways they intersect with contemporary art-making. Through guided visualization and collaboration with local plant spirits, attendants will observe and process what is revealed to the collective psyche through movement, writing, drawing, and other forms of expression. Afterward, the group will share any psychic downloads received for use in their creative practices. 

Edgar Fabián Frías, MA, LMFT identifies as a nonbinary, queer, indigenous (Wixárika), and Latinx interdisciplinary artist, curator, educator, and licensed psychotherapist. Their work traverses academic, social, historical, and relational planes, building bridges and weaving webs. Their practice is amorphous and expansive, rooted in multivalent forms of connection, and in the magic that emerges from it. Born in East Los Angeles, Frías earned dual BA degrees in Psychology and Studio art from the University of California, Riverside and completed an MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon, with an emphasis on Interpersonal Neurobiology. Consequently, Frías’ work is often collaborative, and engages with interpersonal aspects of consciousness, and the continuing effects of colonial and patriarchal structures on the health and resiliency of marginalized communities. Their work has been shown at Angel’s Gate Cultural Center, Vincent Price Art Museum, Human Resources, Machine Project, SOMArts, ESMoA, Recess Gallery, Pieter Performance Space, and PAM Residencies. Frías is currently participating in the Tulsa Artist Fellowship.

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