2022, Township10, Mars Hill, North Carolina, USA
The exhibition Manteia at Township10 in Mars Hill, North Carolina sought to create narratives by weaving together fragmentary signs. This body of work takes its name from the Greek term "μαντεία," meaning "divination" or "oracle." In this case geomancy, the method of interpreting markings on the ground or patterns formed by tossed handfuls of soil is the oracular tool used here. The divinatory tools take several forms, including a wall of ink drawings on paper, which are variations of a grid with lines and curves intersecting to form various arrangements. These drawings resemble a game of chance or maps that present various possibilities for ordering space, akin to the interpretations made in geomantic readings. Although loose and gestural, they remain wedded to the gridded square, a nod to the foundational structure of geomancy. This grid of drawings is joined by video projections and two large forms. Mirror images of each other, one form is clay and the other a paper lantern.
The sculpted clay form mimics the form on the screen. Its companion, the paper lantern, was made by layering sheets of paper over the clay structure and then removing the hardened paper like an exoskeleton. Once illuminated, it becomes a ghost of the clay. Each object is the next iteration in the life of these forms, from the drawings to the video, to the clay body, and finally to the lantern body. In the videos, these forms morph and change in various ways. In one video the clay oozes and pulses as though the earth itself is becoming a body; it also resembles how clay might move if it were animate. The companion video shows three words contained within opaque circles surrounding the clay form, rotating randomly between words referring to an activity, a thing, and a direction or color. They suggest potential visual landscapes or actions to be taken.