Thursday, Dec 3, 2020 at 12:00pm
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“The Naked Mind” is a term borrowed from the writer Terence McKenna to describe the octopus’s peculiar visual expressivity of thoughts and feelings via their coloring, texture and movements. Should they wish their thoughts or feelings to remain private, they “ink” the water to conceal this information. McKenna referred to them as having a Naked Mind. Unlike octopi, our thoughts are concealed by facial control, our feelings by numbing our bodies. We also mask our thoughts and feelings from ourselves, but why exactly?
The answer lies in the human psyche which is often fractured by trauma and is incapable of rehabilitating on its own; it requires our full attention to heal. But because we’re provided with no means of coping with trauma, we minimize the importance of our feelings of unworthiness, shame, or fear and for most people, this is where addiction fills the void. McKenna states that no one is coming to rescue the soul of mankind; he believed it was up to the artists (poets, dancers, painters, writers, musicians, all creative individuals) to lead the way. “As the planet waivers on the brink of extinction, anything less,” he said, “is a dithering while Rome burns.”
This exhibition explores a spectrum of choices made to unveil and understand the effects of trauma on the human psyche. The nine artists included attempt to demythologize its stigma, intertwined as it is with the process of creativity. The impulse to generate imagery as a means of transforming emotional turmoil into tangible objects serves as a vehicle for deeper self-reflection. This approach became the seed idea for The Naked Mind project. We began with discussions around the mental health crisis and its devastating effects on everyone’s lives in this country.
Two and a half times as many people committed suicide in 2018 than were victims of homicide. We questioned why this isn’t being discussed in the arts. We agreed that psychology and (for some) spirituality are as illuminating and informative as political analysis, and provide a more complete understanding of the human condition. Incorporating trauma into the creative process has produced very positive transformations in some of our lives, and the works included in this exhibition stand as testaments of resilience and survival. As artist and renowned cultural critic, Lorraine O’Grady explained in Simone Leigh’s groundbreaking “Loophole of Retreat” conference at the Guggenheim Museum, “How brave and honest we will be when we begin to look inside. And what then, from this aloneness, and this view, this truth, can one bring back as news or enlightenment to the community?”
Tuesday, Jan 26, 2021 at 6:00am Pacific Time
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