Clouds in My Coffee

Last week, the artist Jen DeNike’s show Star Card opened at the Anat Egbi Gallery. The new multimedia exhibit draws its name from a Major Arcana tarot card. At the centerpiece of the show, is a video of nude woman kneeling at the edge of a pool of water, using pitchers to pour water into the pool and then back on to the land she is kneeling on. The gesture of pouring water feels communal and ritual like, suggesting rebirth. The woman is also seen withdrawing small white stars from her mouth.

Two photographs taken from the video are also on display. In one of the photographs we see the back of the woman as she stands half immersed in the water, in another we see her kneeling in the water while a circle of white stars floats before her. A pitcher is physically present in the exhibit as well. The handmade white pitcher is engraved with symbols on its back and front. The use of symbols again brings a sense of the arcane to the work, while the use of white in the pitcher and other works in the exhibit creates a sense of purity and spirituality. Also on view are two white rug like rope sculptures resting on the floor, produced by the artist, working with her mother. The pieces both have circular elements in them, perhaps a moon in relation to the stars of the of pieces. One of the sculptures is a spiraling raised mound, while the other is bed like, presenting a restful or unconscious space. A series of white paper collages also hang in a row. The collages are abstact yet geometic calling to mind organic shapes, symbolism or sacred geometry. The monochromatic quality of the collages, being white on white, causes them to appear mysterious or meditative, while the geometics shapes feels at once sacred and wild.

Marking the opening of the exhibit was a performance staged and choreographed by DeNike. The two hour performance, Full Moon Fever was conducted by a group of black clad performers. The performance was a more physical representation of the spiritual feeling present in the art works. A group of yogis meditated and chanted while another group performed a magic ritual drawing pentagrams in the air. Others performed Kung Fu and Tai Chi, or walked on a rope. A woman sung Joni Mitchel’s ode, California while another woman danced through the room with a portable record player.

Star Card is on view at Anat Egbi Gallery, 955 Chungking Road, Los Angeles, through January 26.

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