Mind Monkey / Monkey Mind

curatorial project for BRIC Arts Media online

The selections for this month’s BRIC Short List began with a look at Ashley Zelinskie’s Prayer Wheel, a rendition of a Buddhist prayer wheel inscribed with the Dalai Lama’s tweets! An amusing marriage of the quiet mind of Buddhism with the 24/7 chitchat of Twitter. From there I discovered the beautifully serene depictions of artist Jayoung Yoon’s journey on the path of meditation, Listening the Mind I. At this point my ideas began to coalesce into a decision to curate a body of work that explores the notion of mind control, personal power or monkey mind/mind monkey. Whether it’s psychology, philosophy, meditation, prayer or yoga, a constant inner dialogue is being engaged, by a large amount of people, most of the time.

Staging My Own Death by Michael Tarbi leaves plenty of room to wonder why the protagonist of this piece has chosen to die? Literally or metaphorically? Suicide or murder? What brought his mind to that decision? On the other hand we have Untitled (BRIC image #16) by Ryan Peltier. An amusing group of characters dancing, admiring in particular two ladies getting their groove on. The drawing brings to mind several moments and styles of collective consciousness - 1920s flappers, avant-garde sensibilities and modern day hipsters. Matthew Wilson’s Commute (drawn while waiting) is an echo to Yoon’s work, demonstrating the practice of focusing the mind or emptying it. Juxtaposition takes place when Jaret Vadera’s work Untitled III is considered. Performing all three of the characters in this work, Vadera interrogates the notion of perspective while simultaneously presenting what could be read as an open-ended story of the sinister actions of an untamed mind. This BRIC Short List moves into the domain of coupledom with pieces by Rachel Selekman - The Lovers, Divya Mehra - The Pleasure of Hating and Karyn Olivier - Doubleslide.  The idea of a partner as a reflection of the self, a site where the untamed mind projects its subconscious, can be read in the strangling or embracing nature of Selekman’s sculpture, The Lovers. The Pleasure of Hating by Mehra offers a comedic take on the basest use of the human mind, deftly mixing danger and humor within what seems to be the familiarity of marriage. The work also succinctly portrays contemporary culture’s simplistic branding of identity. Olivier’s Doubleslide conceptually speaks to the back and forth or ups and downs that play out in relationships, while simultaneously suggesting this same ride takes place in the individual, alone. Lastly, the work Untitled (BRIC image 18) by Jeanne Tremel offers an exclamation point for this BRIC Short List. Representing the free form expression of the human mind, and emotion.  A contrast to the more cerebral work presented here, Tremel’s work in this context brings into high relief the question of how emotions get triggered, enflamed and driven to action.  Perhaps, by our thoughts?


-Diana McClure