Gae Savannah’s Characters of a New Order
Lisa Paul Streitfeld
Gae Savannah’s meticulously handcrafted sculptures of brightly decorated fabrics and manufactured beads and hair accessories integrate East-West elements into idiosyncratic totems of a consumerist age. At Dam, Struhltrager in Williamsburg, Curator David Gibson’s "A Fool and His Froth Are Soon Parted" have taken this artist to a new level.
Here we find a triumphant reigning of the feminine spirit into tangible form. These seven glorious characters are silent, watchful of the manner that we regard them. They deliver a unified message: there is no turning back. The new has taken its form, and in finding its form, is ejected into the public eye where it demands to be accepted on its own terms.
The shifting shapes and fussy diffidence of Savannah’s earlier characters invited us into their self-absorption and ever-changing appearances, like actresses forever attempting to determine a best side to reveal for the camera. Those relics reflected the struggle to reconcile inner exploration with external attraction — a reflection of women having to juggle many tasks to keep up with the demands on their psyche during a paradigm shift. At the same time, the alluring surface of these figures reflected the deeply rooted feminine desire for pleasure through attraction that no army of feminists could squelch!
Lit from within, these are the brightly optimistic characters of a new order in which the tension of interior/exterior and masculine/feminine now merge into a sacred geometry reflecting repose and containment. The sharp angles of the plaid decorative elements and cubic structures represent stasis and stability. This quaternity, reflected in the stations of the fixed cross, is the form that Carl Jung believed to contain the Self, or the hieros gamos, icon of the 21st century.
Savannah is demonstrating the power of the spirit to establish new forms in matter, forms evoking the 21st century search for unity between the opposites. The materials are global, the symbol is universal but the process is strictly a joyful pursuit of personal pleasure in uncovering eye-catching webs of creation. The transformation of kitschy baubles and trinkets into solid objects of translucent beauty reflects the potential for evolution in everyday experience. These enlightened characters reflect our human aspirations for spiritual expansion and transcendence, guiding us into a holistic universe. For artist and spectator alike this experience can be summed up in single word: enchantment.