Biomythography is a literary term; it is a style of composition that weaves myth, history, and biography in epic narrative. Defined by Audre Lorde in her seminal piece Zami: A New Spelling of My Name it has been known to shape theories of intersectionality and highlight the idea of internal, external, and multiple selves. As artist/curators Christion and Wimbley are intrigued by the interconnected and multifaceted link of biomythography across disciplines, particularly in the visual arts.
Implementing biomythography as a studio practice provides a challenge to critical historical practices. Multi - mediated and interdisciplinary platforms are used to investigate historical facts, life experience, pop culture, and mythology; challenging, forming and informing, art history, display, anthropology, identity, and ritual as well as personal, universal, and institutional perspectives and histories.
Through developing a series of curatorial projects contextualizing the visual arts within biomythography, Wimbley/Christion work as context providers for critical dialectic: addressing the nuances within ever shifting identities and how we experience/create our contemporary world and culture.
Members: Chris Christion and Jessica Wimbley
FAR Bazaar Project
BIOMYTHOGRAPHY: AXIS OF EGO: WHEN AND WHERE I ENTER
Description: “Axis of Ego: When and Where I Enter” is a video and multimedia installation which investigates notions of toxic masculinity, cultural humility, cultural speculation, and myth creation while exploring intersecting concepts of inherited racial and social constructs including but not limited to masquerading’s of masculinity and the destructive nature of racially, culturally, and gendered hierarchical organization. The film “Axis of Ego” highlights a comparative link between Cognitive Dissonance in race relations and Sigmund Freud theory on the Ego Defense Mechanisms.
The videos are anchored by the exploration of the figure of Dr. Mabuse a hypnotic character developed post World War II by filmmaker Fritz Lang. Mabuse is depicted as a sinister mesmerist/psychiatrist and developed into a cultural conception representative of the growing influence of authoritarianism. The work is further augmented through the creation of a dense multilayered aesthetic similar to a “wall of sound” layering, and distorting images, audio, and video from a diverse milieu of visual and popular culture including Norman Jewison’s A Soldier’s Story, as well as various interviews by authors such as James Baldwin. Similar to sampling practices in music, the work is layered and varied- creating labyrinthine narratives that engage different perspectives and possibilities.
The installation, which mimics both traditional institutional display, and religious architectural elements including “confessionals”, allows the audience to engage in an introspective and reflective space permitting a literal and physiological space of entry and contemplation.
Participating Artists: Chris Christion
Chris Christion (born 1975; lives and works in Claremont, CA) received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine, and his BFA from the University of Oklahoma. Christion has exhibited in museums, universities and non profits throughout the US including the Chinese American Museum, Otis College of Art and Design, and Orange County Center of Contemporary Art to name a few. His work in the critically acclaimed 2005 feature film Me, You, and Everyone We Know as well as in a number of collections including Huy Fong Foods Art Collection.
In addition to making art, Christion works in Claremont Graduate University’s Art Department as the Gallery and Collections Manger where he has curated a number of exhibitions including the group show The Banality of Good and Remembering Shapes, Signs, and Bodies with artist Edgar Heap of Birds. In 2014 he began the Biomythography Curatorial Project with fellow artist/curator Jessica Wimbley. Their curatorial investigations have developed a series of group exhibitions including Biomythography: Secret Poetry and Hidden Angers, Biomythography: Currency, Biomythography: Currency Exchange with upcoming exhibitions at California Lutheran University and the University of La Verne.
Christion has also taught studio and practicum courses in the art departments of the University of California Irvine and Claremont Graduate University including Basic Digital, Basic Painting and Exhibitions Practicum. In 2012, Christion was named a Fellow in two prestigious programs: AAMG Academic Museum and Gallery Leadership Seminar In partnership with the Kellogg School of Management Center for Nonprofit Management at Northwestern University and Future Faculty Career Exploration Program, RIT Rochester Development Institute of Technology. Christion was a visiting artist at Cal State University 2016 Summer Arts Program, Monterey Bay and has received the 2017 Diversity Fellowship for the Claremont Graduate University.