A Duo Exhibition by Claudia Corujo and Henry McEachern
January 26, 6 - 9 pm
The Fastest Route to the Holiest Place is a two-person exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Henry McEachern and Claudia Corujo, exploring themes of mystery, ritual, and divination. Corujo presents a series of ceramic works that are functional as light fixtures, but seem to take on a life of their own. Through the use of dualistic design and undefined function, Corujo’s ceramics make inquiries on otherness and liminal space. Her work hinges on the contradiction that light is ephemeral and full of illusion, but earth is solid and tangible. McEachern presents a triptych that visualizes a character’s confrontation with unknown dimensions within the self. This triptych, entitled And It Says So I Say, are large-scale oil paintings that follow a path of communication, ascension, and undoing. These works, depicted in the first person, tell a story of a character’s interaction with forces astral, alchemical, and supernatural. In a world of passageway, the hero becomes a fool and the end is always at the beginning. Both artists believe that their materials are alive, standing as evidence of the unexplainable in a narrative that is perpetually circular.
McEachern began the triptych with no intention of its final form. He instead sought to bring out something already hidden in the blank depth of the unstretched canvas. Connecting specks of lint like constellations, and the shadows of ripples like sigils, McEachern cared tenderly for whatever pattern may be hidden before his eyes. Forms emerged, mathematical, animistic, and contextual, and in these forms, revelation of story. In defining the first work, the second became more clear, and so on. Something larger than he could see was playing out in the swathes of dreamy color populated by images of psychic illumination. Surprises jumped onto the stage, radically shifting the direction of the narrative, as if fearing to be lost under surfaces of gesso. McEachern sees himself merely as conjurer, if not mediator, of a creative principle that is pre-eminent to experience. These projections from his own subconscious, his own mystery, populate the interdimensional world of the first-person character featured in the work. It is a story about its own making.
Corujo began her series with the intent to make ceramic orbs featuring handmade permeations to reveal a light source fixed into the interiors of the sculptures. The illumination suggests a fleeting memory or even moments of clarity. She likes that the work functions as a nightlight that can easily be lifted from the top half to reveal a much stronger source of illumination as well as creating a completely different sculpture. In tandem with this idea of versatility, the two larger works were originally imagined as vessels for small house plants that also functioned as separate light fixtures.With the practice of surrendering to the ritual of divine mystery and the inheritance of its raw elements, Corujo chose ceramic clay to participate in the timeless medium known to document human life and mythology through out the epoch of civilization. Corujo was particularly focused on creating complicated characters out of these sculptures through utilitarian components as well as embracing the organic details of the wet clay’s response to the tools and methods used throughout the building process. She hopes that these sculptures will serve as clues to the people that use them as functional lamps while remaining objects of the undefined.
Claudia and Henry formed a friendship and artistic collaboration around a mutual faith in mystery. They have a tongue in cheek mode of communication that always seems to get them to the same place at similar times. Upon meeting it became clear to the both of them that they had independently come across the same mystery. Their work has been in conversation ever since. Corujo has always had a deep connection to site-specific design and the ability to participate in collaboration with other creative sources through object-making. Henry’s triptych was an important influence in her early stages of beginning these ceramic works. Henry seeks to communicate his understanding of the mystery and its ritual through the means of a narrative arc, whereas Claudia seeks to create objects that are grounded in the mystery itself. Both artists share an intuitive connection with physical material, acting as vessels for transformation.
About the Artists:
Claudia Corujo (b. 1999) is a poet and sculptor living and working in New York City. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Claudia’s persistent influences are the moon and the ocean, bilingual cultures, and the human body as it relates to the open concepts of work and physical absence. Through the use of organic and broken forms as well as the aesthetic insinuation of function, Claudia’s practice makes inquiries on otherness and liminality. She is currently investigating illumination as a curatorial technique for metaphor and utilitarian design through the ancient medium of ceramics. A graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, she has been mentored by a range of painters and sculptors, and worked at the Pérez Art Museum Miami. She is currently at the New York Design Center.
Henry McEachern (b. 1999) is an interdisciplinary artist working in New York City. Born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, McEachern formed an early bond with creativity and questioning. He finds inspiration in the simple kindness of others, and in ancient stories of relatable tragedy. He believes that all things amount to one infinitely complex holism. Whether through painting, sculpture, or animation, he channels this holism to render material into forms that speak to their foundational qualities. His practice is centered on patience, coincidence, and a keen eye for patterns. His work has been exhibited in New York and Georgia, at the Heimbold Center for Art and the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, respectively.