Curated by Julie Heffernan
with Joan Bankemper, Ruth Marten and Jenny Lynn McNutt
Pixerina Witcherina Magisterium brings together the work of Joan Bankemper, Ruth Marten and Jenny Lynn McNutt in a conversation about slant authority, languages of the absurd, and the abundant pleasures of too muchness.
Pixerina Witcherina is the communication mode invented by Virginia Woolf to share secrets with her niece that sounded to others like “…a flow of absolutely absurd conversation… in a high-pitched voice using a crazy language made up of unrecognizable sounds.” Such a language, writ large and spoken between communicants with shared vision has its own authority- a Magisterium- for those participating in the game, tantamount to the official and authoritative teachings of their own kind of “Church”. Bankemper, Marten and McNutt engage in particularized languages of making that engage the authority of high aesthetic standards with their own inclinations towards the absurd, shifting familiar imagery into the hydra-headed terrain of the Woolfian “unrecognizable.” Each subscribes to an ethos of generosity, with rich imagery that accretes into complex forms that give us fresh perspectives on the natural world.
Bankemper draws on gardens–flowers and teacups re-forming into Brobdignagian urns, broken plates and bees creating monstrances as radiant in their outrageousness as those spun from gold. Marten brings a collage sensibility and sublime drawing to refashion old prints into new-fangled figures that sprout alligators and multiple feet. McNutt draws on the fertile world of animals—hares, frogs, bees, the rituals of their intricate behavior —to explore animal lore and her own intimate take on the clan of biophilia.