Jeni Spota C. at Nicelle Beauchene Gallery
One may be misled by the title of Jeni Spota C.’s most up-to-date exhibition, “Works on Paper.” A extra acceptable identify may be “Works in Paper” or, much more precisely, “Splendidly Bizarre Miniature Bas-Reliefs of Paper, Paint, Cotton, and Foam Core.” For this newest present, the artist has conjured 13 Biblical apparitions from the fastidious manipulation of detritus.
Contemplate the fourteen-by-sixteen-inch collage Coat of Arms with Newlyweds (all works 2022). 4 angels maintain the titular protect above a married couple who’re flanked by onlookers, together with a pope in a miter and tonsured monks. On the high middle of the composition, the Virgin Mary cradles child Jesus, hardly greater than a peanut. Whereas a number of of Spota’s titles reference Giotto and the early Italian Renaissance custom, the intimate scale and meticulous assemblage of idiosyncratic supplies bring to mind the folks traditions of home shrines in Mexico. Certainly, the artist’s peculiar, obsessive creativeness calls for an virtually forensic mode of scrutiny. Is the implied physiognomy of every face merely the impact of creases in a raisin-sized wad of paper? Might the celestial environment be actually fabricated from cotton? And, wait, why is that this skinny-tied groom dressed a lot like one of many Beatles?
That is hardly essentially the most psychedelic of Spota’s collages. Others, similar to Peace Signal with Physique Components, depict angels bearing the namesake emblem surrounded by disembodied fingers and eyes, and the bare figures of Adam and Eve with seen ribs the scale of a child’s fingernail. Floating eyes dominate a number of compositions, similar to Cross Eyed, the place they’re assembled within the type of, you guessed it, a cross. Sure, Spota is humorous. However there may be additionally one thing profound within the suturing of symbols from throughout eras and contexts that strives to method the divine.