“Much has transpired since the first manifesto on Symbolism was created back in 1886 (and hence the movement was labeled “Symbolist” from the previous label of “Decadent”), but the original intent has never left us. Officially freed of constraint by all but the artist’s own boundaries, Symbolism has moved into the 21st Century as much a mysterious creature as it was when it first blossomed. We are still fascinated by the veiled mechanics of the human mind, even as we close the gaps in worldwide communication and culture. The more we know, the bigger the mystery grows. Our symbolic vocabulary is a cacophony of meaning, richer than ever but more difficult for the artist to juggle. In some ways, being a Symbolist now is more difficult than ever before. The artist must resist the temptation to repeat another artist’s vision, but in the same vein, avoid appropriating cultures alien to his/her own, which can be difficult when one finds their own culture old, mundane, shriveled. Artists of the 21st Century must dig even deeper, into the rich, fertile soil of their psyches to harvest the cornucopia of what is the human spirit. Unfortunately, the majority of artists find themselves hung up on which type of shovel to dig with. It is only a handful of creative people who move forward to chip away at their inner world, thick with analogy, myth, knowledge and intuition.
Combined with truths, observations, cultural analogy and often a sense of humor, the modern Symbolists of today force the rest of us to reflect inward, pick up our own spades and shovels and picks and dig a little ourselves.” – excerpt, Julie Baroh, 2017
“Modern symbolists do not unite around a specific style as our 19th century predecessors did. Rather we see symbolism straddling many of the contemporary styles. Symbolic portrayal is seen in visionary art, lowbrow art, outsider art, pop surrealism, surrealism, magic realism and even ‘contemporary art’. This wide range of styles which embrace modern symbolism offers a certain anarchy, a freedom of choice that in earlier movements was not as available. This is a double-edged sword. On one hand symbolists are not recognized as a movement due to the lack of stylistic coherence. On the other hand, artists are not constrained by rules and regulations. This show of symbolists brings together an eclectic group of artists, all with vision and our personal form of symbolism. The common thread is found through the stylistic choice of the curators rather than a predesignated style imposed by a movement. It is a fresh and deeply personal representation of Spirit.” – excerpt, Liba W Stambollion, 2017
Curated by Liba W Stambollion and Julie Baroh
“Modern Symbolists” runs from August 26th – November 5th, 2017