“Too fair to worship, too divine to love.” HEGEL
In this day and age it can be difficult to meaningfully broach a sense of taboo. Well past the age of sex, drugs and rock & roll we’re somewhat immune to that nostalgic notion of blasphemy. I won’t look twice at Miley Cyrus riding a wrecking ball, but there is a heady weightiness to the mix of sex and spirituality. With a history that goes back to the Yoni and Lingam of ancient Hindu practices, to Paganism, Pan, Kundalini and Tantric philosophies, the marriage of the carnal and the divine has been somewhat buried under a century of lubricated gloss and glam. In a time where sexuality has been worn down to it’s most gratuitous incarnation, the concept of sexual communion as having any meaning attached to it is somewhat shocking. Sex as prayer? Don’t make me blush.
October 29 – December 15, 2015
117 Grattan Street | Suite 112 (corner of Porter and Harrison)
Brooklyn, New York 11237
Rithika Merchant, Barry William Hale, Colin Christian, John D. Monteith, David Molesky, Kymia Nawabi, Steven Bradshaw, Rik Garrett, Lizz Lopez, Meesha Goldberg, Lori Field, Steven Baines, Matthew Dutton, Stephanie Lucas, Lu Zhang, Lori Nelson, Rory Coyne, Caitlin McCormack, Samuel D Gliner, Lauren Levato Coyne, Loic Lucas, Jennifer Lin, Michaelanthony Mandrake, Jane Cox, Gemma Gary, Ellen Stagg, Jonathon Rosen, Terry Tapp, Matthew J Levin, Nyahzul Blanco, Michael Noland, Stephen Gibb, Jana Brike, Heiko Muller, Julie Healy, Cendrine Rovini, Jen Jones, William H Mortensen, Alexis Murray, Darcilio Lima, Ray Robinson, Elizabeth Shupe, Matt Nolen, Brittany Markert, Sergio Barrale, Roland Hendrickson, Eric Richardson, Steven Gibb, Limor Gasko, Shonagh Adelman, Hermon Finney, Inge Vandormael, Dolorosa De La Cruz and others, Vernacular and Folk Art, Vintage photography.
Stephen Romano Gallery’s latest exhibition, “Magica Sexualis“, centres on the 1934 text of the same title. Steeped in the Occult, it explores elements of ritual, magic, invocation and manifestation via the act of coitus. Far from pleasure driven, it involves “Volts”, “Magic Mirrors” and “Statuettes” and if you’re curious it’s readily available online. I got to thinking that perhaps part of our discomfort with sacred sexuality is that sense of authority. Whether it’s the presence of the divine, a priest/priestess or even an instruction manual it pushes the boundaries of the body into something unknown. We’re somehow comfortable with the bleached out spotlight of sexuality and commerce, yet the candle lit glow of the sacred is a little confronting.
Magica Sexualis is multifaceted in it’s treatment of this subject. While the 1934 text has a masculine perspective, this exhibition includes female artists, giving them back their common ground. There’s a complexity here that allows a 360 degree viewpoint on sexual identity and the divine. Artists like Cendrine Rovini, Lori Field, Jana Brike and Limor Gasko portray a deeply internalized sense of sexuality. Idiosyncratic, intuitive, intimate, raw and vulnerable. It’s mystical, feminine and capable of drinking the moon. We’re also presented with viewpoints that feel like contemporary paganism. Here, the body moves beyond a sexual object at the whim of an external authority, but as a vessel of deep wisdom capable of obliterating any dregs of profanity. Rik Garrett, Lauren Levato Coyne, Meesha Goldberg and Rory Coyne articulates this through nature’s wild, while Lu Zhang, Jennifer Lin and Brittany Market examines it through the more psychological lens of identity. Co-curator Barry William Hale, gives an almost totemic treatment of sexuality imbued with a symbolism and potency that gives primal back its punch and Eric Richardson balances it all with a cheeky wink at Pop.
Perhaps the common thread throughout the exhibition is that sexuality is transformed from flesh, sensory stimulation and instant gratification into something “other”. Something beyond words. One could say that this in itself is an act of magic. In the very least it makes for an interesting date night. . .
Stephen Romano Gallery is pleased to announce the next group exhibition following in the series of “In Missa Interfectionis”, “Opus Hypnagogia” (at Morbid Anatomy Museum) and the inaugural exhibition at Stephen Romano Gallery’s new Bushwick location “Lexicon Infernali”, all of which examine the interaction of the esoteric, vernacular, visionary, outsider, vintage and contemporary art practices. “Magica Sexualis” is the title of a book from 1934 which fascinates as a power object, and the work presented will examine sexual energy manifest through magic practice, or the reverse, magic energy manifest through sexual themes.
Sexual magic refers to an ancient science that has been known and protected by the purest, most spiritually advanced human beings, whose purpose and goal is the harnessing and perfection of our sexual forces. A more accurate translation of sexual magic would be “sexual priesthood.”
In ancient times, the priest was always accompanied by a priestess, for they represent the divine forces at the base of all creation: the masculine and feminine, the Yab-Yum, Ying-Yang, Father Mother: the Elohim.
Sex magic (sometimes spelled sex magick) is any type of sexual activity used in magical, ritualistic or otherwise religious and spiritual pursuits. One practice of sex magic is using the energy of sexual arousal or orgasm with visualization of a desired result. A premise of sex magic is the concept that sexual energy is a potent force that can be harnessed to transcend one’s normally perceived reality. The exhibition will also feature an installation by Barry William Hale that will be visible from the street and will change depending on outside light conditions.
Lauren Levato Coyne
Barry William Hale