The day before the opening of his 2005 solo show at Marc Foxx in Los Angeles, Matthew Ronay hired an exotic dancer to perform a “voodoo/magic ceremony,” which entailed rubbing her private parts against his sculptures. ‘I guess the whole thing seems kind of sleazy, which is fine,’ the artist said in an interview in The Believer, but additionally I like to think of it as adding a lock of boar’s hair to a cauldron.? For his latest show, “Between the Worlds” at the Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York, Ronay expands on the theme of bizarre rituals, by building an immersive “primordial forest,” where visitors are invited to tap into inherited memory and shared mythologies.
Ronay has constructed a spatial collage of papier-mâché, wood, and paint — a mash-up of forms meant to invoke feminine and masculine energies through cavernous and vertical outcroppings. The space is also populated by mystical beings, who — possessing multiple eyes and adorned with seedpods, horns, and beards — “recall both mythological demons and totemic spirit guides.”
According to the gallery press release:
While primitive ceremonial sites were once consecrated in terrestrial environments like caves and forests, or even accessed through use of ritual hallucinogenic agents, over time our ability and even our desire to connect with these spaces has been amputated. Considered irrelevant and subsumed by consumer culture and our current privileging of virtual space, in our adult world we so rarely encounter an environment where intuition and imagination are so directly and genuinely invoked.
And if a visitor’s imagination should move him to become intimate with one of the mystical beings, we have a feeling Ronay wouldn’t object. The show is open until August 12.