The Crossing of Worlds
Emily Avery Crow
3rd Nov. – 2nd Dec. 2023
PV 2nd Nov. 18:00 – 20:00
In 1971 there was an exhibition at the Hayward Gallery ‘Tantra’. It was not just an exposition of a manifestation of esoteric Indian and Himalayan art but a presentation that opened out broader cultural pre-occupations with the counter cultural engagements with spiritual and aesthetic development that suggested pre-modernist staging of difference. In many respects there has been a similar heterogenous manifestation of a similar conjunction which provides for a re-privileging of esoteric iconography within strands of Contemporary art.
The art of Emily Avery Crow draws upon a myriad of traditions drawn from religious iconography, into settings that restore mythic and mystical settings. The appropriation of the sources of these traditions are not academic, nor are they exotic, but instead restore the imaginative framing of the impulses of connecting the image with the spiritual or mythic. There is within this, the sense that the origin of the image is from the sky and that the materialisation of pigment provides a medium for this to occur. As spectators, there is an invitation to wander twice over through the arc line of references exhibited in this work and to link wandering with wondering, thus a space of dream time as much as temporal location. The mapping which accompanies these probes or passages are nothing short of a cosmic weaving together of the visible and invisible dimensions of becoming in which there is a synthesis of spirit and matter.
The range of references to location, genre, and medium are extensive and range through Gupta frescoes, the art of the Silk Route, Thangka painting, Northern Indian miniature painting, Japanese ink painting, the Surrealist art of Leonora Carrington and Leonor Fini. Woven into the references are preoccupations with animism, mythology and the esoteric.
Art drawn from such sources are viewed as a lived transmission beyond doctrine and as such is invested in the image that is the fold of consciousness and matter. Meditation on the image within this framework opens out the multiplicity of spatial encounter, so it might open out the spiritual potency of the remote regions of the sky, next passage dwelling within the forest and then bring us close to the waters edge. Within this the attention to nature, is invariably an occasioning of forces which are immanent within its reserve. This attention draws upon memory systems rooted in energetic transmission that are pre-modern, but that point to emergence on the cultural edges of late time.
Stylistically the painting technical emerges from delicate washes of pigments that often gives way to passages recording fading, as if subject to temporal drifting. It is as if the images are being arrested within a nether region, giving rise to a floating sensation between worlds. Nothing is fixed by the push and pull of gravity. This is an art that invents its own rule outside of purely Contemporary schema. It is of course possible to connect it to Modernist lineages such as those of Symbolism, esoteric abstraction, and Surrealism but then that is to view the work through another form of gaze, one which is on offer probing the yet to come of other constructions outside of modernity. As an art, it dwells within the secret of the present that opens out different dimensions of an unrealised future. This sense of a future is born out of an arousal within the present aligned to invisible forces laying beneath the surface. Washes of pigment are the medium through which this journey of becoming is realised. It is a delicate art of traces reorganising the temporal flow backwards and forwards outside of times present determination of the late modern disenchantment.
Text by Jonathan Miles
About The Artist
Emily Avery Crow(B. Boulder, Colorado.) is an artist who works with watercolour, natural sculpture, and textiles, as well as animation and film production design. She was raised in Colorado and Nova Scotia by parents following the Shambhala tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. Spending her early years in a community of people practicing the principles of dharma art, drala, and warriorship, she was influenced at a young age to recognize the power of beauty and the importance of excellent teachers.
She studied healing arts in San Francisco at ACTCM, and fine arts at Naropa University with Joan Anderson and Robert Spellman. She then let go of having a fixed address and began a life of constant relocation, sometimes moving to a different place every week of the year.
Behind the scenes photographer, ‘Vara, a Blessing‘
Moving Temple Films / 2011 / Sri Lanka / Director: Khyentse Norbu
Production Design, ‘Hema Hema: Sing me a Song While I Wait’ Tsong Tsong Ma/ 2018 / Bhutan/ Director: Khyentse Norbu
Production Design, ‘Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache’ Philosojoy Production / 2019 / Nepal/ Director: Khyentse Norbu
Production Design, ‘Pig at the Crossing’ 2022
Abstraction,Boulder Colorado, USA 2000; Online Exhibit with Siddhartha’s Intent, 2021; Spark of a Thousand dreams, Duo Exhibition with Dalest Patan, Museum Nepal, Nepal 2022