FULLER CRAFT SUMMONS GODS AND MONSTERS
The gods and goddesses have been summoned to Brockton.
“The Stories We Tell” at the Fuller Craft Museum presents three wood-centric artists who present distinct mythologies taken from world culture, or create modern pantheons of their own, or blend them together in some sort of a cosmological Cuisinart.
The exhibition is striking in that it is easy to see a clear, common thread in the symbolically loaded art of Binh Pho, Michelle Holzapfel and Tommy Simpson as they engage in symbolic conversation with gods of their own invention, or reference European, Asian and Native-American deities, or pay homage to magical creatures, pixies, spirits and avatars of domesticity and the wild, of love and violence, and of nature and culture. But that common thread only stretches so far before it snaps and the very different dynamics of the trinity of artists become powerfully apparent.
The exhibition is divided into three separate, subtitled galleries. In “Shadow of the Turning,” Binh Pho, born in 1955 Saigon, explores the components of the ancient Vietnamese mythology of his heritage. Throughout his works, dragons and fairies play prominent roles in folklore somewhat unfamiliar to most Westerners.
The fairy is likely meant to symbolize Au Co, who according to tradition is the mother of the Vietnamese people. She was impregnated by the dragon Lac Long Quan, and bore an egg that hatched 100 children, collectively known as the Bach Viet, the original and venerated ancestors.
Au Co the fairy is the yin and as such symbolizes softness, femininity, night, water and earth. Her counterpart, the yang-dragon Lac Long Quan, is hardness, masculinity, day, fire and sky. The cycle and the circle are complete.