For Beginners

March 10, 2017

I wrote the catalog essay for the show Magical Realism at the Samuel gallery in Chicago. Curated by Steven Vainberg, the show featured work by Megan Diddie, Rachel Malin, Steven Mayer, and Will SheldonFor Beginners appeared a booklet along with some of the artwork which you can read here. I also wrote a short piece on the spirit of the show, which evolved out of conversations with Steven.

“Magic becomes real when atrocity is normal, when things are upside-down. The darkness behind the blindfold is uniform and universal. We, the blinded, are supposed to be in a type of nothingness that is without limit, so there is always room. This unlimited space is a tool for the powerful, like a prison that never fills. Historical events pass into this space like coins in a jar. There is no organization, and we can only guess at the amount and value. This is the sensation of terror. The effort to organize a terrorized world reveals magic. Demons, fairies, and humanoids play in this space that is almost flattened out. When we are somehow confronted by these obscene creatures that dance in the blind spots, we are not scared. These little monsters are so familiar, we have seen them before. And we see them like a person with a full stomach, with no desire. What we see is gross and awful, and does not bother us for redemption, for understanding. It makes no sense that they are there and this is how it should be. This is magic, everything we know is in suspension.”