Now Showing | Rites of SpringBy AIMEE WALLESTON
“A Song for Those in Search of What They Came With,” the current show atBellwether gallery curated by the photographer David Sherry, has an air of menace and a healthy dose of literary-tinged heathenry. (The show’s rambling name takes inspiration from the work of Allen Ginsberg and directly refers to a poem by Lily Wheelwright, a friend of Sherry's who died two years ago.)
In his own photographs, Sherry has often explored occultist imagery, and while this show acts as an almost beatific exaltation of art-making and the lives of young artists, the dark arts also make their way into the show. In works by Tony Cox — a sometime skateboarder who has also exhibited at Deitch Projects in New York — and Amy Yao, who went to Yale with Sherry, fetishistic elements that could be found in voodoo rituals are reconfigured into interpretations of each artist’s personal biographies. Yao also takes her personal experiences at a West Hollywood party called the Screwball Dance Club, and transforms them into shamanistic sculptures.
Meanwhile, the Canadian artist Marc Hundley’s work highlights another form of ritual and spell-making, appropriating texts from sources including The Magnetic Fields, the poet Rainer Maria Rilke and the West Village underground nightclub Love in his pieces. And Michele Abeles’s bled-white photographs of a cat’s face, dead dogs and a bikini-clad siren lounging seaside offer an eerie, uncanny aesthetic. “I am drawn to the play between natural and unnatural,” says Abeles. “That’s the world I see. It’s a messy world.” For Sherry, it’s a beautiful mess: “It’s a great moment for artists to be making and showing their work, as the economy dwindles and galleries are closing, many artists are left to their own devices. Through mysticism and magical thinking, there are always new ways discovered to deal with the world, the economy, New York, love, death and life. We are all mystics in this show.”