Fountain House Gallery Presents “Mushrooms”: Exhibition Explores Fantastic Fungi and Their Role in Nature, Culture, Medicine
On view: January 26 – March 8, 2023/Reception: January 26, 6-8pm
Conceived and curated by: vermilion
This exhibition is a visual conversation that engages with the multifaceted and expansive fungi. The show highlights the humble fruiting fungus – which presents itself in endless forms and colors – and the connectedness it builds throughout nature, literature, and culture.
“The idea for this show was in the air like a spore, and it landed!” said vermilion, a longtime Fountain House Gallery artist who immigrated to the U.S. from Romania in 1998 and is an experienced presenter of visual and performance “artivism” events here and in Europe. “Mushrooms are visually intriguing, and fungi have been integral to the development and sustenance of life on Earth. On another note, I thought of the current menace of ‘mushroom clouds’ in the war in Ukraine. Most of all, I’m excited by mental health research investigating the potential of mushrooms in medicine. Art is a catalyst for change, and my dream was not only to present a striking and thought-provoking exhibition but also for Fountain House Gallery to serve as a hub for a variety of events spotlighting the significance of mushrooms. I’m delighted to see this coming to fruition.”
Among the nearly 40 works presented in Mushrooms is Donna Faiella’s Clinical Trial, a digitally enhanced photograph inspired by an invitation she received to participate in a clinical investigation of psilocybin to combat anxiety and depression associated with a cancer diagnosis. Eugene Eunoia Brukhman’s imaginative Self-Portrait in Mold presents a clear container of food, mold, and digital photography; as the piece continues to “grow,” the artist will photograph and document changes until it is covered in mold and the food is no longer recognizable, reflecting Brukhman’s belief that there is “beauty in decay, renewal in rot, hope in destruction.” Two works by Christine Albane portray vastly divergent associations with the word “mushroom”: Her watercolor and ink on paper piece, Healing Mushroom, depicts a serene woman seeming to draw positive energy from an array of multi-hued mushrooms surrounding her head, while Killing Mushroom, Albane’s sculpture in polyfill and spray paint, evokes the fearsome “mushroom cloud” in a colorful representation that appears less threatening than its title suggests.
Among the additional mediums included in the show are acrylic, mixed media and collage, fiber, fashion accessories and jewelry.
The Mushrooms exhibition will be complemented by diverse programming including storytelling, presentations, workshops, screenings, food tastings, and a fashion-forward closing party. Collaborative events include: a winter-foraging walk with the New York Mycological Society; workshops to grow edible mushrooms with Smallhold; drawing workshops and an exhibition between Fountain House Gallery and SHARP Gallery, London; and a presentation on current psychedelic research with the Mood Disorders Support Group. As dates for these events are finalized, details will be available via Eventbrite and on Fountain House Gallery’s website.
This program is funded, in part, by generous support from the Renate, Hans and Maria Hofmann Trust, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the David Rockefeller Fund, and the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
About Fountain House Gallery: Fountain House Gallery and Studio supports the careers, creative visions, and recovery of artists living with mental illness. Founded by Fountain House in 2000, the Manhattan-based Gallery sells original artworks and collaborates with a wide network of artists, curators and cultural institutions. The Studio, located in Long Island City, is a collaborative workspace that furthers the professional practice of our artists. Embracing artists who are emerging or established, trained or self-taught, Fountain House Gallery cultivates artistic growth, makes a vital contribution to the New York arts community, and challenges the stigma surrounding mental illness.