On the Threshold 

Myth, Magic, Mystery: The liminal in art.

Everyone knows what subliminal ads are. Rove used them (DemocRATS) in 2000, and W denied it while mangling the word with his usual charm as "subliminable." Liminality, according to Wikipedia, is a psychological term referring to a transitional state of ambiguity, openness, and indeterminacy between two separate planes; a zone of potentiality and possibility in which social distinctions vanish and communitas replaces hierarchy. The term comes from the Latin word for threshold.

Myth, Magic, Mystery, a large exhibition of spiritual art, explores the subconscious and the transcendental, areas of experience that are suspect to an art world driven by conceptual pseudorationalism (aka absurdist magical thinking). This show also seeks to foster art that espouses and celebrates healing, connectedness, wellness, sustainability, and community over the commercial art world's hypercompetitive rat race, a microcosm of our current system, which is of, by, and for capital. The 33 artists selected by Red Door curators Jais Booth, Bronton Cheja, and Lisa Rasmussen cover a wide range of subjects, approaches, and media in their 57 works, though anyone familiar with John F. Kennedy University's Arts and Consciousness Department in Oakland, San Francisco's California Institute of Integral Studies and Art Institute, or Inverness' Lucid Art Foundation, will have encountered some of these artists before. The curators' statement lists symbolists, Nabis, certain surrealists (Matta, Onslow Ford, and Paalen), and religiously inspired abstractionists (Kandinsky, Tobey) as progenitors, as well as mystics and seers of all creeds. To generalize greatly, the work divides into two major types: depictions of symbolic or archetypal figures, or of magical agency, generally figurative, though the figures may be mandalas or ideographs; and depictions of nature and change, independent of humanity, generally abstract. On Saturday, April 18, there will be an artists' tour (1-2 p.m.); a panel discussion "The Liminal in Art" (2-3:30 p.m.); a fifteen-minute slide presentation of Nepal's sacred sites; and a mask-making workshop. A catalogue featuring the artists' images and essays is available. Through April 26 at the Red Door Gallery and Collective (416 26th St., Oakland). RedDoorGalleryandCollective.blogspot.com or 510-292-7061


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