Virginia Lee Montgomery: Dream Cocoon

October 22 - November 21, 2020

Hesse Flatow is pleased to present Virginia Lee Montgomery's DREAM COCOON, a multi-media exploration of metaphysical feminist panpsychicism through sculpture, performance, and film. Virginia Lee Montgomery (VLM) exhibits a series of marble ponytail sculptures, made after ambiguously erotic shapes of primordial protozoa, and a dream-logica film: BUTTERFLY BIRTH BED. During the pandemic, VLM  began obsessively stone-carving and raising moths and butterflies as a way to both investigate transfiguration and to explore themes such as interiority, healing, and emergence. In DREAM COCOON, Luna Moths symbolize hope and stones provide grounding.  


VLM's sensually ambiguous Marble Ponytail sculptures ask us to remember that "ponytail" forms first appeared on Earth not as phalluses, but as protozoa--unicellular, multi-sexed, parasitic organisms--not unlike our own evolutionary ancestors.The sculptures reject the ponytail form as phallic, instead referencing ancient rites, bone, hair, protozoa, and the metaphysical dynamics of atoms in motion. Each is hand-carved, polished, and sculpted by the artist and named in honor of an ancient deity, i.e. Epona (Gaulish Goddess of Horses), Aluna (Cajun Goddess of the Moon), or Andromeda (Grecian Goddess of Dreams). 


"Each Marble Ponytail eventually collapses under the weight of its own linear erection. This is to show that as the Marble Ponytail form evolves it becomes an arc, or succumbs to Coriolis forces of molecular motion, before its atoms find equilibrium in the physical position of an ovoid." (VLM)


VLM's conceptual interests in sculpture interrogate the complex relationship between physical and psychic structures. By contemporarily sculpting in a prehistoric medium like stone, VLM summons sculpture's metaphysical function as a tool for funerary, fertility, and healing rites. VLM asserts her argument that such sculpture exists formally independent of modernism's masculine bravado and that linear forms should be seen in context to ritual use and biological evolution and not analyzed through western psychoanalysis's obsession with the phallus. Instead, her Marble Ponytails reference bone and hair and metaphysical dynamics of atoms in motion.


Montgomery's video installation will be shown with her marble-on-memory-foam sculpture, MARBLE EGG,extending her investigation into the metaphysical relationship between physical (material) and psychic (mental) structures.


BUTTERFLY BIRTH BED  is a metaphysical art film about hope. Inspired by 'The Butterfly Effect'-the philosophical theorem that any small change in our environment, even the gentle flapping of a butterfly's wings, may manifest big climatic change-the film documents the ethereal emergence of live butterflies over storm imagery contained in a butterfly-scale Shaker bed. Collectively, BUTTERFLY BIRTH BED's symbolism and elemental soundscape facilitate a surreal incantation for healing, hope, and recovery. The film is directed, edited, and scored by VLM. 


Virginia Lee Montgomery (VLM)  (b. Houston, TX, USA) is a metaphysical multimedia artist, working between Texas and New York, primarily in video, performance, sound, and sculpture. She received her BFA in Studio Art from The University of Texas at Austin in 2008 and her MFA in Sculpture from Yale University in 2016. VLM interrogates the complex relationship between physical and psychic structures. Her artwork deploys an idiosyncratic visual vocabulary of symbols-like circles, holes, and spheres and recursive gestures like drilling, dowsing, and reaching-to illuminate the mind's inexorable link to matter. Her work is paradoxically cryptic and literal, conceptual and hand-built, digital and physical. It shifts in subject matter-from ponytails to particle accelerators, to syrups, stones, moths, and machines-as VLM interweaves elements from feminism, panpsychism, and surrealism. Her artwork is also latently autobiographical. It is influenced by her career as a professional Graphic Facilitator, a job for which she travels the country to diagram the development of ideas at TED Talk events for clients. In her work as a fine artist, VLM turns this skillset of "mind map scribing" inwards to render the contours of her subconscious and the logic of her own dreams and memories. Collectively, VLM's symbols, forms, and gestures rupture material surfaces, opening portals into unknown psychic ends...