As Above, So Below
August 24 - September 28, 2019
Opening Reception: August 24, 2019 | 5-8pm

Where I fixed my eyes first, it was written: ‘And men go about to wonder at the heights of the mountains, and the mighty waves of the sea, and the wide sweep of rivers, and the circuit of the ocean, and the revolution of the stars, but themselves they consider not.’ [Augustine, Confessions] I was stunned, I confess. — Petrarch

Murmurs Gallery is pleased to present, As Above, So Below, a group exhibition that explores a contemporary perspective of Renaissance Humanist philosophy which considers nature as a tool to shift human perception and forge a relationship between inner and outer realms. Taken from 16th Century Heremetic text The Emerald Tablet, the title is an aphorism which conveys the concept that operations on Earth reflect those in the astral plane, not in a literal or mechanized way, but rather in the form of a multitude of discrete processes.

In April 1336 Francesco Petrarch climbed a small mountain in Southern France called Mont Ventoux. He did not need to climb it, there were no plants to gather from its slopes, no animals to hunt, no enemy to attack nor village to defend. Petrarch climbed the mountain simply to experience the sheer delight of looking out from its summit. His act was revolutionary — the first-ever journey for a journey’s sake, what today we would call a hike, tourism, or a dérive. Carl Jung believed that Petrarch’s Ascent of Mont Ventoux ushered in the era of Renaissance Humanism in Europe as it illuminated an enlarged perspective that exploded the teachings of conventional religion dictating that humans were made in God’s form and therefore unknowable. A novel symmetry was revealed — nature as a prism through which to understand human life: the peaks and valleys of Earth’s terrain a metaphor for our personal trials and tribulations. Curiosity about the transformative relationship intertwining nature and the human experience motivated the earliest scientific practices. To this day, measuring, codififying, experimenting. and collecting are some of the quintessential tools used to investigate our position as a part of and apart from nature.

The artists in this exhibition operate under a collective awareness of the legacy set forth in Petrarch’s era while also responding to contemporary disruptions, specifically: the collapsing of time and space symptomatic of technology and the devastation of climate change on our planet. Through their work, they may attempt to control, mold, and harness nature's power or let its processes of decay and entropy take over. Marsh’s rose petals scattered across the gallery floor create an ephemeral economy of symbolism which disintegrates over the course of the show. Schneider’s photographs emphasize the myopia of human senses in comparison to other life forms. Jackson’s sculptures emulate systems of energy transfer via archetypes and man-made materials. In her video installation, Pressed, Belleveau literally and metaphorically flattens the perceived hierarchies separating BDSM from “natural” sensuality. Veit’s mural physicalizes the invisible kinetics of a body drawn with naturally-derived materials while Dean’s sculptures reckon with the absurdity of attempting to contain unbridled forces within arbitrary manufactured boundaries.

Genevieve Belleveau's (b. 1984) relational practice informs her live performances, writing, video, photo, and new media investigations. Her work has been featured in Frieze, Broadly, i-D,WIRED, The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, Playboy, PAPER, Bomb Magazine, Art21, Art Papers and She has shown at Moma PS1, Ekebergparken, DAM Gallery, Vox Populi, Transfer Gallery, Eyebeam, VOGT Gallery, Witte de With Contemporary, Art In General and Lilith Performance Studio, among others. She lives in Los Angeles, CA where she and her partner co-run Sacred Sadism, a conceptual BDSM tool company and social practice piece.

Joel Dean (b. 1986, Altanta Georgia) currently lives and works in New York City.  He received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2009 and received fellowships from both the Yale Summer School of Music and Art (2008), and the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artist Residency (2009). His work has recently been included in exhibitions at Interstate Projects in New York and Cordova in Barcelona. He has a forthcoming solo exhibition at Prairie in Chicago. This fall he will be a resident at the Triangle Arts Association in New York City.

Lesley Jackson ( b. 1990) lives and works in Chicago, IL. She received her BFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2013. Recent exhibitions include Andrew Rafacz Gallery (Chicago, IL), Greenlease Gallery (Kansas City, MO), Hotel Art Pavilion (New York, NY), Bar4000 (Chicago, IL), Efrain Lopez Gallery (Chicago, IL), Chicago Artist Coalition (Chicago, IL), Forth Ward Project Space (Chicago, IL), Heaven Gallery (Chicago, IL), Beautiful Gallery (Chicago, IL), and Born Nude (Chicago, IL). She participated in NADA Art Fair in New York with Hotel Art Pavilion in 2018 and SPF15 in 2016.

Jenine Marsh (b. 1984) is an artist based in Toronto Canada. Solo and two-person exhibitions have taken place at: Franz Kaka, COOPER COLE, and 8-11, Toronto; Lulu, Mexico City; Vie d'ange, Montreal; Entrée, Bergen; Interface, Oakland CA;  and Beautiful, Chicago. Group exhibitions include: Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Mother Culture, Toronto; OSL contemporary, Oslo; Rupert, Vilnius; Gianni Manhattan, Vienna; Night Gallery and Hannah Hoffman Gallery, Los Angeles. She has participated in residencies at USF Verftet (NO), Rupert (LT), the Banff Centre (CA), and Vermont Studio Center (USA). Her work is represented by COOPER COLE in Toronto.

Jack Schneider (b. 1991) is an artist and curator living in Chicago, IL. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is a Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and he is also Co-Director of Prairie, a contemporary art exhibition space focused on critically engaged emerging artists. His own work—which investigates the effects of anthropogenic activity on other species and the environment—has been exhibited recently at Gas (Los Angeles, CA), The Franklin (Chicago, IL), Horse & Pony Fine Art (Berlin, DE), Bass & Reiner (San Francisco, CA), 1.5 Rooms (Brooklyn, NY), Adds Donna (Chicago, IL) Born Nude (Chicago, IL) and Lodos (Mexico City, MX).

Alison Veit (b. 1989) lived and works in Los Angeles, CA. Her solo exhibition have taken place at: Pina, Vienna, Austria, Interim, Oakland, CA, Princess, New York, NY, Room East, New York, NY, Chin’s Push, Los Angeles, CA, Important Projects, Oakland, CA, and Platform 9 and 3/4, Chicago, IL. Group exhibitions include: Shore Gallery, Vienna, Austria, Queer Thoughts, New York, NY, Courtney Blades, Chicago, IL.