JONATHAN LEVINE GALLERY | OCTOBER 22 – NOVEMBER 19, 2011
Time Kills All Gods, AJ Fosik’s second solo exhibition on view at Jonathan LeVine Gallery October 22 through November 19, 2011, is a near-hallucinogenic vision of imagined deities melded with cryptozoological specimens captured in stasis.
Fosik’s sculptural works simultaneously evoke Tibetan symbology and heavy metal emblems. One series features larger-than-life three-dimensional red and gold hands twisted into positions either ambiguously Buddhist mudra-like, unabashed “metal horns,” or oddly shadow puppet-like. So what does it all mean? Fosik seems to be creating an iconography of appropriated symbols and vague allusions. His creatures are gloriously symmetrical and seem to allude to some greater narrative in their titles. “Reason is The Oracle” presents a multi-eyed, two-mouthed beast with almost lupine features, its red tongues lolling forth from yellow fangs, head flanked by something that could be an ornate golden halo, or just the well-decorated backboard for some fantastic taxidermy.
Fosik’s seductive depictions of what appears to be an allegory involving the prominent figures and totems in some glorious, vivid, alternate dimension twist language and figure to create what feels almost like a perfectly reasonable religion. A skeletal figure with many eyes is “Materka’s Witness” when depicted with its eyes and halo rendered in innocent teal with gold embellishment, but the same oddly radiant figure given an ominously darker burgundy mouth and vibrant crimson/orange background (with eyes to match) becomes something altogether menacing and brutish. Fosik’s deft manipulation of the subtle visual codes of superstition and vague religious symbolism creates some sense of meaning without ever lending specificity to what his creatures are actually saying, or what his hand gestures are actually signifying. The effect is akin to a complicated code that ultimately turns out to be gibberish.
The viewer could endlessly impart meaning and innuendo into his constructions, but it seems like this would be an exercise in futility. Perhaps this is a comment on religion in general—that no symbols have any real meaning, and that all loaded icons are empty shells into which we have inscribed layers of sense and logic where there is nothing. Perhaps more than that, Fosik has created his own universe, one which the viewer can enter (if only briefly), first enticed by the psychedelic patterns created by layered wood in rich colors then drawn in deeper by the narratives suggested faintly by the poses and arrangements of these enigmatic beings. So, what does it mean? Perhaps nothing. But Fosik’s brilliant, gilded alternate dimension is a glorious spectacle to behold.
ContributorGail Victoria Braddock Quagliata