Alison Blickle Channels Myth and Ritual to Find Female Strength in Darkness
The tableau vivant installation of paintings with ceramic accompaniments draws upon the Descent of Inanna, the oldest known recorded deity dating back to ancient Mesopotamia. A goddess of love, sex and war, Inanna was the Queen of Heaven whose ambition led her down into the underworld to wrest it from her sister Erishkigal. In order to make passage through the seven gates of the underworld, Inanna had to relinquish her powers and surrender herself to the dark realm before she was reborn stronger and wiser.
A practicing witch, Blickle conjures up varied imagery from ancient Egyptian reliefs, 18th century alchemic drawings and the Pre-Raphaelites. The regal nudes are absorbed in ritualistic practice, relishing their submission to darkness and self-discovery. For Blickle darkness is a source of strength to be harnessed in the natural development and growth of women. The triptych The Myth of Inanna II-IV (Honoring the Dark, Uncursing the Dark, Honoring the Light) illustrates this notion. Blickle’s use of ceramics in this work is particularly effective in grounding the otherworldly in an earthly place of worship.
By seeking out and embracing darkness, the artworks question the ramifications of modern patriarchal society’s championing of women who uphold light and reason. Interestingly, the worship of Inanna diminished with the rise of Christian patriarchy. Through her compositions of intimate rituals, Blickle evokes the spirit of Inanna, imbuing her figures with a resilient vigor at one with both darkness and dawn.
Alison Blickle: The Myth of Inanna is on view through October 13, 2018 at Kravets Wehby Gallery.