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Sometimes I say mean things

Sometimes I say mean things
Regina Mamou & Ellis von Sternberg
October 31 - November 21, 2015

We gawk. We boggle. Caught, we run for the cover of respectability. The anthropologist’s objectivity makes us feel polite again. Within the lines. We humans need to belong so desperately that we perform as if we belong no matter what the personal cost. This is the power of religion, of chosen identity. Catharsis is not relief from sin nor reconciliation of belief, but the ability to relax. I am home. I am among my own people.

Regina Mamou and Ellis von Sternberg are both outside looking in. Neither trying to join, nor looking from an uninvested gaze of neutrality. The in-crowd each observes is entirely different. They share a confession of envy. They look at oddball groups because they see identification with the group as access to something better: part and parcel of belonging.

Regina is looking at a range of spiritual practices, sects of organized religions that fall outside mainstream. Before that, she observed those who seek evidence that the dead continue to affect us through communication or energy shifts. Her sculptures and photographs focus on the thing that facilitates a deeply desired transformation from the point of view of their respective believers. If a sacred place or object can be an access point for them, perhaps they can for her as well. Her works subtly reference High Modern classics but oppose them with specific named objects that have loud stories to tell. Effectively pushing up against any Minimalist impulse. Conflicting sorts of pure.

Ellis mixes his idiosyncratic crews. After all, if he’s going to drink the Koolaid, the life that follows had better surround him with things he already loves. His gaze is farther fetched and reaching. Juggalos, sports gods, anime demons/heroes, Heaven’s Gate devotees. Ellis edits to generate elegant unified talisman, straddling worlds that would otherwise never come near one another.