OPUS HYPNAGOGIA @ The Morbid Anatomy Museum

Welcome to the borderlands . . .

The state between dreams and waking has long been considered a fertile creative space since the times of Aristotle. The stomping grounds of prophets, apocalypses, witchcraft, ghosts, the damned and the demonic, it harbors both our greatest fears and ripest visions. Curated by Stephen Romano, Opus Hypnogogia,  sees 17th Century Etchings, forgotten relics and hieroglyphics rub up against our contemporary visual shamans.  An exhibition not to be missed and one that’s likely to haunt you for a long time to come.

OPUS HYPNAGOGIA: Sacred Spaces of the Visionary and Vernacular

Opening Reception:

July 18, 2015 |12-6PM
Admission: $5

Exhibition Dates: 

July 18 – October 15, 2015

The Morbid Anatomy Museum

424-A 3rd Avenue Brooklyn, NY | (347) 799-1017

Featured Artists: 

Kris Kuksi, Kymia Nawabi, Martin Wittfooth, El Gato Chimney, Rithika Merchant, Caitlin McCormack, Jel Ena, Pulu Zhao, Rene Allain, Matthew Dutton, Lizz Lopez, Joseph McVetty, Barry William Hale, Hunter Stabler.

Curated By: 

Stephen Romano of Stephen Romano Gallery

Exhibition Statement:

The Morbid Anatomy Museum and Stephen Romano are excited to announce a curated exhibition opening July 18 in recognition of the museum’s first year anniversary.

This milestone will be celebrated with an all day “Festival of Arcane Knowledge” followed by a Devil’s masquerade party. The exhibition will be comprised of a blend of historical, “Outsider”, and Visionary art, as well as contemporary works, vintage books, vernacular photography, folk sculpture, spirit photography, and many surprises. As with previous exhibitions curated by Stephen Romano, the design and content of the exhibition will be in constant dynamic motion throughout the course of the exhibition, adding, taking away, reflecting the synergistic relationship the curator has with the collection.

The exhibition, entitled ‘OPUS HYPNAGOGIA: Sacred Spaces of the Visionary and Vernacular’, is composed of works from Stephen Romano’s esoteric personal collection, as well as works sampled from the collections of associates and the inclusion of some of the most highly respected and recognized contemporary artists of our time including Kris Kuksi, Kymia Nawabi, Martin Wittfooth, El Gato Chimney, Rithika Merchant, Caitlin McCormack, Jel Ena, Pulu Zhao, Rene Allain, Matthew Dutton, Lizz Lopez, Joseph McVetty, Barry William Hale and Hunter Stabler.

Jel Ena The Generosity of No Face 2014

Jel Ena, “The Generosity of No Face” 2014

Caitlin McCormack, Homewrecker, Crochet

Caitlin McCormack, “Homewrecker” 2014, crocheted cotton string and glue

Kymia Nawabi "Everyone is Expected to Come and Cum" 2010

Kymia Nawabi, “Everyone is Expected to Come and Cum” 2010, Ink and Watercolor on paper

The exhibition examines the place the visionary occupies as the “HYPNAGOGIA”, defined as the experience of the transitional state from wakefulness to sleep: the hypnagogic state of consciousness, when mental phenomena such as lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis occur. This “threshold consciousness” phase is in this exhibition linked with the visionary artist’s creative process which empowers the artist with shamanic powers. The works presented are implied to have been created while the artist was in a similar state of heighten awareness through their own pursuit of creative fulfillment.

Some of the exhibition’s highlights will include works by America’s earliest Visionary artist Charles Dellschau (1830 – 1923) whose illustrated flying machine according to the late renowned art writer Thomas McEvilley “seem to foretell an ascent to heaven for which the artist’s soul has opened itself, partly through the activity of making his art. ” Dellschau has been called “an outsider art master in the same league as Adolph Wölfli, Henry Darger and Martin Ramirez” (Raw Vision magazine summer 2013).

Charles Dellschau Watercolour

Charles Dellschau, Plate 4374,  1919, Watercolour and collage on paper

Also included will be the notorious William Mortensen (1897 – 1965) masterpiece series of photographs “A Pictorial Compendium of Witchcraft” (illustrated at the top) from 1926. Several of these works have been widely reproduced in publications such as The Guardian, LA Times, Smithsonian Magazine, and Huffington Post among many others, and are considered to be quintessential examples of the artist’s work. This exhibition will be only the third time this series is assembled for public view.

William Mortensen Photograph 1

William Mortensen Photograph 2

William Mortensen Photograph 3

William Mortensen series “A Pictorial Compendium Of Witchcraft” 1926,  Manipulated photos, Silver prints

The exhibition will also feature for the first time ever a selection of works by American visionary artist A. Fiorello (dates unknown), of whom we know very little except that he apparently lived in New York c. 1960 – 1980, and whose works were found in a New York antique shop. Fiorello produced painted plaster reliefs which depict some of the most visceral imagery in the cannon of Visionary art.

An expansive selection of the works of renowned “outsider” William Blayney (1918 – 1985) will be on view, some of which have never before been seen. Blayney was a self ordained Baptist minister who traveled around in his camper and gave sermons in the parking lots of shopping malls. The surviving paintings, which have been exhibited in several prominent American and European museums such as the Philadelphia Museum, The Newark Museum and the Museum of American Folk Art were used as his visual teaching aids.

The exhibition will also include a selection of esoteric ephemera such as a large banner from c. 1900 from the International Association of Rebekah Assemblies, a female auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a selection of spirit photos dating from the mid 1800s, original books and plates from Jacob Bohme from the mid 1600s, an original copy of the book “Lectiones Memorabiles” from 1671, an “Anima Sola”, and a depiction of souls in purgatory popular in Latin American culture among many other surprises.

Jacob Bohme Etching

 Jacob Bohme, 1675

El Gato, Acrylic

El Gato Chimney, Untitled Triptych 2015, Watercolor on Paper

Hunter Stabler Tetris Graviton

Hunter Stabler “Tetris Graviton” 2015, Hand Cut Paper

Romeyn de Hooghe HeiroglyphRomeyn de Hooghe, Plate 28, 1735, Evil Gods Hyroglphic

El Gato Trailblazer

El Gato Chimney, “Trailblazer” 2015,  Acrylic on Canvas

Anonymous Artist Apocalypse

Anonymous 1925,  Oil on Canvas

Rithika Merchant Sleep Paralysis

Rithika Merchant “Sleep Paralysis”, 2015Anonymous Sculpture Animas Solus

Anonymous, Anima Sola Depiction of Souls in Purgatory, Mid 19th Century

Matthew Dutton Sculpture

Matthew Dutton “Infernal Companions”, Sculpture

Lizz Lopez Drawing

Lizz Lopez “Casting Devils”, 2015

Martin Wittfooth "Shaman I" 2014

Martin Wittfooth “Shaman I” 2014, Oil on Canvas



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