“Fervor from the Truth: Spiritual Absurdities by Edite Cunha, Gina Vernava and Others” opens Thursday, April 5 at Nina’s Nook, 125A Avenue A Turners Falls MA.
Cunha and Vernava combine mosaic techniques with repurposed and recycled materials to create unique commentaries on their religious and spiritual cultural experiences.
Cunha’s series of “AlterVirgins” are an “artistic response to my early Catholic upbringing combined with more recent spiritual explorations. My AlterVirgins are not virgins in the carnal sense. One might say they are emancipated virgins. They are funny, cheeky, sassy and they have fun on their way to eternity."
Vernava’s pieces deal with “the absurdities of Spirituality. Some are humorous, all are political commentary due to my own personal opposition to the rise of the Political Christian Right.”
Pam Allan, Lauren Paradise, and Elise Vegliante also contribute to this multimedia exhibit in the tiny Turners Falls art space.
April 5-May 12 at Nina’s Nook, 125A Avenue A, with
Artists Reception Saturday, April 7, 4-6pm at nearby Burrito Rojo restaurant, 50 Third St Turners Falls.
--I am very excited to present this show. The work is humorous, intelligent, original and has a lot of "back story"! What more can you ask for? For more detail, read the following statement by Edite:
The work presented in Fervor From the Truth is from my AlterVirgins™ Series. The AlterVirgins are an artistic response to my early Catholic upbringing combined with more recent spiritual explorations. As a child, I was mesmerized by the ceremony and ritual, imagery and iconography of the church. I was fascinated, and often terrified, by the mystery and miracles, the drama and frequent gore in the stories of the lives of the saints. My mother was born in Brazil, where she spent her formative years before moving to Portugal. There, she was surrounded by the synchronization of religions via the Catholic Church her family attended, and the Candomble and Umbanda Terreiros of the neighborhoods. There, Xango, the Yuroban Orixa of Fire, Lightning and Iron and St. Barbara, were one and the same, the Orixa, when need be, hidden behind the safer, more acceptable Saint. As a college student I studied Afro-Brazilian literature, religion and culture and learned more about these traditions. I began to understand why my mother, a practicing Catholic, also attended, when given the opportunity, churches and gathering places of other faiths; why she quietly hid partially open scissors near all the entries to her homes; why she burned rosemary and prayed to St. Barbara at the first hint of thunder storm. In her quiet way, she was mixing it up, taking what worked for her, from the spiritual choices she had available to her. The AlterVirgins emerge from this history, mystery, curiosity and learning, as well as from my simultaneous attraction to and repulsion by the church I was raised in.
The first AlterVirgin, Our Lady of Peas and Tranquil Tea, arrived on a stormy night. I was sleepless and worried about my youngest daughter who was on her way, crammed into the back of a small pickup truck with far too many others, to a concert in NYC. Earlier in the evening, I had stood by the potholes in Shelburne Falls, watching as she and others layered themselves sardine-like into the truck. The weather service was warning flash floods and urging people to stay off the roads throughout much of the Northeast. Despite the dire warnings, my daughter and company were planning to drive through the storm¸ because the concert would be amazing, and the tickets were too dear to be given up. I watched drive way, went home and later, unable to sleep, began breaking china and adhering it to an old wooden drawer. I added an image of the Virgin Mary, a little dog, a teapot and teacup. In the wee hours I understood that I had created a personal Madonna that could give me what I needed, peace and tranquility, but with a humorous twist. I knew then that there were many more such Madonnas, waiting in the wings.
To read about the lives of the saints, is to read about suffering and pain. The Catholic Virgins suffered torture, abuse, deprivation and every manner of horrible fate on their way to heavenly recognition. And, they were virgins to boot. Enough of that! My AlterVirgins are not virgins in the carnal sense. One might say they are emancipated virgins. They are funny, cheeky, sassy and they have fun on their way to eternity.
A word about materials: I mainly use recycled and repurposed materials in my work. Sometimes an idea comes from the material at hand. Other times, a Lady arrives in my psyche, and I go out into the world to find the materials she demands. I save everything, bottle caps, fabric and paper scraps, candy wrappers, sardine cans.
A word about Gina Vernava, my partner in this show: Two women who, unbeknownst to each other, both save sardine cans for future artistic creations, are artistic soul mates and meant to be in a show together. It was destined.
Special Thanks to: Ed Litwak, Geoff Whiton, Gina Vernava, Nina Rossi, for technical support and feedback.
Edite Cunhā . Turners Falls, MA 01376 . email@example.com
And this St Francis statement by Pam Allan:
Francis of Assisi
born Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone, 1182-1226
I have a special fondness for ecstatic saints who, if they were alive today, might be our friends in half-way houses or the homeless we pass on the streets.
Francis is one of those wild and crazy guys! He wandered all over medieval Italy, barefoot and sometimes naked. Stories of Francis are charmingly childlike. He did a handstand for a nun! He talked a wolf into stopping his attacks on a village! He asked for cookies on his deathbed! He offered his underpants to God!! He built snowmen and dreamed of chickens!
1. The Snowmen. Living a life of celibacy, Francis still longed for the comfort of a womanís touch. One day, the story goes, Francis was so engulfed in desire he stripped naked and built 8 snowmen. "These snowmen will be my family," he is reported to have said.
2. The Chicken Dream. Francis desired a life of solitary prayer and meditation. However, a chicken appeared to him in a dream. Francis accepted this a a sign that he needed to continue to lead the religions order he had founded, the Little Brothers.
|Greenfield Recorder 03/01/2012, Page D02
Viewer or voyeur?
‘Triple S: Sensual, Sexual, Smut’ at Nina’s Nook through March 10
Story & photo by Trish Crapo
The Nook saw a steady stream of visitors all day, but come 4:30-5 we had to institute the door pass system of only four allowed inside at the same time. This continued with a constant group out front under the tent waiting to get in for two hours. Meanwhile, folks at Burrito Rojo were getting seduced by Scarfie Marionette and the rich desserts from 2nd St Bakery ladies, including a platter of risque cookies shaped liked butts, bosoms and, um. yeah! Liz Smith knitted away merrily with hopes of warming Franklin County's frozen sausages for Valentine's Day. It was fun.
The Montague Reporter's write up by Matthew Small was GREAT! "Ten reasons you must see this show" was clever, funny, and light-hearted. I am sure it added to the success of this event.