Dani Tull : THE ORIGIN OF CONSCIOUSNESS IN THE BREAKDOWN OF THE MIND
Opening: 13th June 2008, 6:00 - 8:00 pm
Exhibition: 14th June - 2nd August 2008
Dani Tull's paintings are excitingly direct. Their strengths reside in their subject matter – –the dawn of man–, or perhaps the –dusk– of man – set against actual psychedelic Tie-Dyed backgrounds.
The artist, who lives in Los Angeles, combines two very different formal elements in his paintings: the concrete figurative scenes below and the abstract above. Conceptually, this can be compared to the two spheres in medieval painting, where figures are shown in front of or beneath a golden ground. Instead of a monochrome, however, Tull–s backgrounds are made up of turbulent fields of color that can be seen as surreal psychedelic sky as well as hallucinatory micro/macrocosms. They may also resemble traces of distant galaxies, while the Tie-Dye craft technique recalls retro 1970–s fashions.
When asked where his inspiration comes from, Dani Tull mentions how he has always been interested in the illustrative cave paintings of Lascaux, France, as well as his lifelong visits to the County Museum of Los Angeles and it–s neighbor, The Natural History Museum. Tull–s earliest experiences looking at contemporary and historical art were combined with seeing dioramas and displays of prehistoric life and evolution.
The figures in his paintings, depict various archetypal stages of evolutionary form, from ape-like Neanderthals to primitive looking dopey-eyed Hippies. Tull often works with real models, casting friends as well as a homeless man from Tull–s neighborhood.
Some figures are depicted in classic –early man– scenarios of survival, while others seem engaged in a sort of cosmology of a psychological expansion.
Tull–s pictures converge two very distant points in the timeline of mankind: a contemporary view of the Stone Age on the one hand, and the counterculture/social revolution aesthetics of the 1960–s and 70–s on the other.
Tull–s work also explores the "Stoned Ape" hypothesis of human evolution, a theory most notably articulated by the late ethnobotanist Terence McKenna. McKenna theorized that as the North African jungles receded at the end of the most recent ice age, giving way to grasslands, a branch of our tree-dwelling primate ancestors left the tree branches and took up a life out in the open – following around herds of hoofed animals, nibbling what they could along the way.
Among the new items in their diet were psilocybin-containing mushrooms growing in the dung of these ungulate herds. Essentially the theory suggest that the inclusion of psychoactive plants were the impetus for the flowering of the human mind and culture as we know it.
Dani Tull–s exhibition will also feature a supporting series of photographs in which Tull has sculpted crude forensic reconstructions of early mankind-like heads. These sculptures are photographed then destroyed and the photographs are the finished works. These images explore the psychology of –abstraction– vs. –form–.
Dani Tull–s "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Mind", serves as a prismatic view into the phenomena time past and present, with a psychedelic revisionist take on evolution.