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White Noise mystics at Space 1026


Jessie Rose Vala
Jessie Rose Vala, Cosmic Storm, Graphite on paper, 10 feet tall x 6 feet wide

At a moment when the so-called adults of the world are failing to find solutions to the big problems that face us on Planet Earth, a desperate new generation is turning to mysticism for a way out of the mess we are making.

Their thinking is not so far from the thinking of the ’60s, with its search for transcendance through sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.

White Noise at Space 1026 this month is a group show about modern mysticism, spirituality, new psychedelia and the environment. It draws artists from coast to coast and includes one from Finland.

Pauliina Mäkelä, all untitled, mixed on wallpaper, top ones are 40.5 inches high
Pauliina Mäkelä, all untitled, mixed on wallpaper, top ones are 40.5 inches high

The work is for the most part youthful, filled with the ubiquitous putti of today–the crystaline substructure of the universe, triangles, rainbows, and animals wiser than the average bozo human. Yet many of the pieces in the work transcend their own stereotypical imagery–via boffo technical skills and via their visionary quality.

Jessie Rose Vala‘s 10-foot tall heart of tree–Cosmic Storm–is an alternate universe in a knot-hole, framed with cut paper owls and leaves. Even with my personal doubts about the crystaline structure of the skin-like tree bark nagged, the piece won me over with its visionary boldness and beauty and myth-making qualities.

In sharp contrast to the trompe l’oeil approach of Vala’s work, Pauliina Mäkelä’s outsider-y drawings on wallpaper of flat, stumpy figures with googly eyes and cartoon-y life-force emanations (jeez, is that menstrual blood or pee?) are weird enough to carry the day and keep me looking, puzzling over its narrative, its spatial irregularities and patterns, and its non-standard people. I love the multiple eyes in one figure. Does this mean his head is spinning? The compositions and the colors are great! Makela is the artist from Helsinki.

Drew Beckmeyer
Drew Beckmeyer, Leaving: Pier of Industry, ink graphite and gouache on paper, 32 x 34.5 inches

The narrative California ocean scenes of Drew Beckmeyer tie in to Cali crystal culture, the rapture, and the sense of man’s puny place in nature. I’d have gagged over the triangle/pyramid in his Walking on Windy Water, except I liked the weirdness of his drawing style and his ability to create a sense of the instability of life. The self-portrait (I’m assuming it’s a self-portrait) of his disintegration in I was not the Same After You is beautiful and sad, a counterpoint to the psychedelic rainbow landscape behind.

Isaac Lin
Isaac Lin’s tiny Tiger Skin T-Shirt, Gouache on (cut) paper, 5 x 6 inches

Others artists in the show are Michelle Blade, Thermi Caniagim, C.F., Kevin Hooyman (check out his fun website), Kyle Mock, Jay Nelson, Erika Somogyi, Mike Swaney, and Justin B. Williams (also the show’s curator), plus some pieces by local artist and Spacer Isaac Lin, whose delightful cut-out paper paintings, seemed to come from a more balanced, grown-up universe.

Here’s the link to my Flickr set.