Metaphor: A Meditation on the Inner Reaches of Outer Space / by Jennifer Davey

Now that is a mouthful! But there is a method behind this madness. 

This is a collaborative exhibition with long time friend and painter Jennie Kiessling and myself. It opens this Friday March 11th, 2016 in the North Gallery of Artworks Loveland. It will run through April 29th. We will be exhibiting a series of paintings as well as a collection of letters inspired by the book The Inner Reaches of Outer Space by Joseph Campbell. There will be an artist's discussion at 7 p.m. Wednesday March 30th, 2016, as well as a special event at 2 p.m. Saturday April 23rd, 2016, where we will employ the popular format of The Clyfford Still Museum's One Painting at a Time, and discuss one painting of each artist for 30 minutes each. The last chapter in Campbell's book, "The Way of Art" is available here if you would like to read it in relation to the show. And now, back to the mouthful...

The Inner Reaches of Outer Space...is this a painting show about NASA and Scott Kelly's return to earth? No, however this story provides a wonderful metaphor as to why I love Joseph Campbell's book The Inner Reaches of Outer Space. Although Kelly's time in space is a literal event, it also is a wonderful metaphor for a new way of seeing our planet, a way of seeing that begun with our first images of the earth taken from the moon on Christmas eve 1968. And then the "blue marble" photo taken from space in 1972. These photos mark a radical shift in human perspective. These photographs allowed us to see ourselves. It was a profound moment of self awareness that we are a whole system, in a much larger universe. This is a concept we are still coming to terms with as a people. Literal interpretations of our old localized mythologies no longer resonate with our reality as humans on planet earth.

As an artist, these moments and realizations inspire me to ask the question, now what? How do I come to terms with this realization? What in the past is helpful? How do our perceptions need to expand? I have always been drawn to Campbell's work. He provides a map to use this rich history of human metaphor and symbol to point to a new way of being anchored in this vast spinning universe. Jennie and I used Campbell's book as inspiration for our paintings. We also wrote letters back and forth to one another in response to our readings. This process has lead us to more questions, in a wonderful and inspiring way. All of this work will be on display and we would love for you to join us in discussing the power and relevance of Joseph Campbell's work in contemporary art.