Playing on the enticement of the black mirror, or, the darker recesses of our own perceived realities, fascinations revolving around the occult has infiltrated and renegotiated the perceivable world as we know it to be. Contemporary examinations of the occult and mysticism has surged in creating a more modern vernacular of symbology rooted in spiritualism, skewing the tangible under the scope of what is sensed and experienced as opposed to what is seen. Confronting the enigma of the unknown, investigations of the preternatural have transformed the material world through its semi-erotic explorations of the unconscious and the supposed spirit world. Evoking a sense of histories long since passed, fascinations with the paranormal are found not only within its connotations with Surrealism and Dada, but has since found itself increasingly commercialized through a dilution into popular culture.
The following artists present an elusive understanding and reflection on mysticism and the occult. Straying from any form of irony, kitsch or inapt nostalgia, their employment of the occult acts instead as a new means of dialogue and spiritual resolve.
Presenting an unabashed fascination with the underlying spirituality of botanics and the natural world, artist Nicomi Nix Turner’s delicately detailed illustrations create enchanting dialogues where the fauna and environment roam in wild abundance. While the natural surroundings often times appear to consume their human counterparts, Turner’s use of hyper-soft graphite and multiple textures retains a romanticism in sync with a more transcendent understanding of nature.
Through medieval and anatomical inspired symbolism, Arizona-based artist Daniel Martin Diaz immaculately blends post-modern surrealism with line work reminiscent of Kandinsky’s geometric abstractions. Creating fantasy narratives that teeter between spiritualism, alchemy, and a disjointed antiquarian medical book, Diaz’s use of graphite on time-worn paper and oil on distressed wood constructs a time-warped resurrection of the past. With a richly meticulous attention to detail, Diaz “delves into the supernatural realm and summons adaptations of end time prophecies and phenomenal consciousness”.
Working primarily in pencil and gouache, artist Amy Earles creates innocent, yet sullen dreamscapes where her drearily depicted female heroines are often seen donning animal masks. Creating a dichotomy between the dream world and our own, Earles’ illustrative works invite a subtly of mysticism that lingers on the periphery of childhood. Through her work’s frequent employment of a monochromatic color scheme, Earles’ illustrations delicately bring to light the underlying shadows of an otherwise playfully grim narrative.
William Crisafi’s indistinctly lit illustrations transport viewers into a ritualized space that exists just beyond the fringe of our own conscious mind. Crisafi’s tranquil, dream-like characters can often be found merging into the landscape with an enigmatic melancholy that, through his stark use of lines, remains pronouncedly significant. Through the cultivation of surreal and mythic narratives, the heavily contrasting illustrations endure as a seductive accumulation of the paranormal.
Heavily inspired by baroque-style portraiture and the overwhelming intensity of detail, artist Jas Helena’s works exist within a world of their own. Through a flawless application of archival ink, Helena’s illustrations remain not only reminiscent of 16th century etchings and Old Master prints, but prodigiously magnify the immensity of ornamental detailing. While Helena’s subject matter remains predominately macabre with an emphasis on the occult, the detail-heavy illustrations continually beckon the viewer to immerse themselves within each delicately placed line.