Modern Eden Gallery presents a small group show featuring works by Adrian Cox, Kindra Nikole, and Michael Campbell. The exhibition unites these three dynamic artists working in different mediums—painting, sculpture, and photography—yet all inspired by the tenets of magical realism. Each of the three artists will present a small body of work upon themes ranging from the interconnectedness of humans and nature, the secret language of plants, mysticism, mycology, and the creatures that inhabit the borderlands.
Adrian Cox is a painter living and working in Los Angeles, California. Cox attended the University of Georgia for his undergraduate studies, and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with honors in 2010. He obtained his Master of Fine Arts degree from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2012.
My work forms the ongoing mythology of the Border Creatures, a race of hybrid beings that live in the verdant wilderness of the Borderlands. The Border Creatures exist in symbiotic harmony with the natural world, but are frequently antagonized by the Specters, beings of pure energy that casually burn the landscape that they walk upon. When these spirits first appeared, the destruction that they brought to the lush ecosystem of the Borderlands drove the creatures into hiding, and forced them to conceal their hybrid and non-binary nature in order to survive. In my recent solo exhibition, Terra Incognita, I chronicled the heroic journey of Healer, the leader and savior of the Border Creatures. By donning the Fatherdress, a supernatural garment that allowed Healer to become both mother and father to the creatures, the Specters were transformed, and Healer's people saved. However, there are still Specters that haunt the darkest corners of the Borderlands, and the Spectral Witnesses that beheld Healer's transfiguration still wander the forest.
In this personal mythology, I seek to raise questions that are fundamental to a contemporary human experience. These narratives speak to the inextricable ties between individual human identity and our cultural understanding of Nature. My paintings also challenge how we define the Monstrous and the Other, and propose a reconsideration of the categories of the natural and the transgressive. These mythic fictions suggest that there is no "pure" way to exist in the world. In the Borderlands, qualities that might be misunderstood as grotesque or monstrous are synonymous with beauty. Ultimately, these paintings present an exaltation of fluid identities, and imagines a place where the language of difference breaks down.
Kindra Nikole is an internationally exhibiting artist based in Seattle. She experiments with photography, prop building, costume creation, and mixed media, drawing on natural settings to create surreal, otherworldly images. Kindra manifests fantastical realities in her images, oftentimes with a hint of dark allure. Her works tend toward vibrant, rich colors and typically feature a solitary figure immersed in nature.
Michael Campbell lives and works in the San Francisco Bay-Area. He grew up in the Midwest in the 1970's amid the handicraft movement with a home full of macramé, decoupage, and paper-mâché. 1,600 miles away from Haight-Ashbury, he made God's eyes in Cub Scouts and glued macaroni onto wooden crosses in Sunday School. From an early age, handcrafted objects and the divine were connected.
Campbell's art explores mushrooms in both their natural role as 'decomposers' of dead, organic matter and as symbols of fairytales and altered states of consciousness. The bold red and white spotted caps of the immediately identifiable amanita muscaria are the iconic symbols of both vintage Christmas gnomes and of Siberian Shamans engaged in vision quests. Campbell references the depiction of these mushrooms here as the forbidden fruit in the Christian fresco found in the Plaincouroualt Abbey.
Campbell's sculpture speaks in a visual language unique to the 1970's through bright colors and painted plaster casts reminiscent of chalkware banks of that era. They suggest hand painted, mass-produced tchotchkes of divine sacraments, mushroom saints, and forest spirits.