Exhibit photo by Kaylyn Taylor
The Future is Unwritten
Review by Kaylyn Taylor
Entire contents copyright © 2014 by Kaylyn Taylor. All rights reserved.
The Tarot Deck is an excellent example of functional art. While not all may ascribe to the mystical powers of the deck, it is fair to say that the cards themselves offer often beautiful and compelling imagery in a convenient size. Revelry Boutique Gallery’s current exhibit, The Future is Unwritten, also offers beautiful and compelling imagery, in an assortment of media and size. Twenty-one different artist selected a card, some randomly, others purposefully, and produced a work of art inspired by this card. The traditional iconography and the brilliant color palette served as inspiration for some, while others selected specific symbols and meanings found within the image. There are painterly interpretations, wood cut art, metal art, skateboard art, three dimensional art, circular formats, framed and unframed pieces, and an unlimited assortment of media. The color palette, the flatness of the images, and limited use of perspective and uniformity scale, unifies this engaging exhibit. . There is not a great variation of size in all media, suggestive of the uniformity of a deck of cards.
Some artisis selected a few symbols from the vast array provided by their card, and focused on those, while others seemed to filter the significance of the cards through a personal prism or a classical lens.
All pieces in this exhibit are ripe for the admiration of the beholder. The exhibit itself is on one wall in the Revelry Boutique, and is arranged in a fairly regular block of art, hung at eye level and easily accessible for close viewing. By way of identification, the artist’s name and piece title is offered, as is the card the piece is derived from. The media and the dimensions are left for speculation. Some pieces are presented in elaborate frames, while others have simple edges. Some are presented on canvas; others repurposed wood, some on heavy grade watercolor paper, and others on atypical media such as a skateboard or a barrel lid.
The pieces that caught my attention specifically were – “Nine Pentagrams” by Alex Kennedy and the pairing of “The Emperor” by Alex Kennedy and “The High Priestess” by Phoebe Digges- Elliott.
“Nine Pentagrams” is a pen and ink or possibly watercolor/watercolor pencil image of this card, rendered in a beautiful Art Nouveau fashion. It is of a beautiful woman encompassed by a large circle/sun. The iconography is put through a romanticized prism, but what is truly are striking is the attention to detail, and the artist’s delicate, mindful use of the media.
The images of “The High Priestess” and “The Emperor” are similar in style. Both are black and white photographs adhered to panels, with a red tint on the pomegranate the figures in each of the pictures are holding. There is possibly a dark wash of paint over both, evoking mood and mystery – then there is a glossy seal on top of that. While “Nine Pentagrams” is an iconographical inspired piece, these two are mood inspired. The card of the emperor shows a kingly figure, throned and bright, but the artwork offers a hooded eerie figure possibly representing death, holding a pomegranate. This asks, really who is the true emperor? The high priestess is equally dark, but the figure is open and accessible, her face is revealed, holding a pomegranate that has been cut in half revealing the seeds – suggesting that the high Priestess, in reproduction and growth, is a counterbalance to the emperor death. This paining harkens to the Greek Hades/ Persephone myth, and the death/ life archetypes.
Another piece I was drawn to was Lyndi Lou’s “Leonato”, which is derived from the King of Pentacles. Here the artist references a symbol found within the card, the bull. The image seems to be etched into a thin wooden panel, the bull is given a natural finish so its color is that of the material. It is encompassed in a gold orb suggesting the moon, and placed in a field of aubergine. This flat piece is richly dimensional due to its velvety quality. The materials used have been absorbed into the wood, and have a richness that is tactile.
The Tarot Deck is a mysterious subject to contemplate, and rich with symbolic and historical significance. This exhibit explores this, and leaves the viewer with a brief glimpse into a vast field of possibility.
The Future is Unwritten
October 24 – November 8, 2014
Revelry Boutique Gallery
142 E. Market St
Louisville, KY 40202
[box_light]Kaylyn Taylor is an artist and writer living in Louisville with her husband and two children. She holds a BA English & Humanities with a minor in Art from the University of Louisville, and is the General Manager for Savage Rose Classical Theatre Company.[/box_light]