James Gortner
Brenda, Crossroads
(2005-2007) private collection
found oil, acrylic, and primer on several found works of art
62" x 63"
4. The house stood like a stone patchwork quilt. Aesthetically as well as philosophically inspiring, this pieced and patched together derelict location along an old Catholic Cemetery was from out of a chaotic vision I had. The name of the neighborhood where the building stood was "Darkside."

Not long after being there I realized this area had the potential to have been calling me to it already and for quite some time. The house had a certain vibration. A frequency or range that I cannot explain in words. I needed to make this work for that. Whatever that was.

The house was an administering hub for a new and special kind of religion. A Neo-Afro-Carabean-magic hybrid. This is a syncretic religion that began to evolve long ago in both Europe and Africa. Before any of it's present day practitioners were born. In Europe with Catholicism and in Africa with the worship of the Orisha. Both being no doubt based themselves on even older empirical models and ideas predating themselves and the architects who made them, the two components met in the Americas. What started then continues today, blending the New World based- African and European originated- syncretic religious traditions of Santaria, Palo, and Voudoun together with that of tribal shamanism, new age mysticism, and Anglo-Saxon forms of witchcraft. This contemporary, fragmented, and constantly evolving religion with it's freely associated magical rituals is prevalent in various forms in this countries urban centers. It is so new it has not yet been named. Naming it may not be possible.

When I came to a crossroads in my own life I decided to be homeless. Again putting some of my ideas about destiny and will into practice, what seemed abrupt or hasty was likely part of a larger decision that had been at work in me for some time. Being an artist of minimal means then the decision seemed fit with the need to make great art even as such. A room was portioned off for me at the "ile" or temple in Darkside. Special powers of protection to work there were granted me by the houses Madam who happens to also be the neighborhood's administering, "lyalorisha," or priestess.
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