Vidya Giri
Maria Molteni

Exhibition Dates
Sep 3 – Sep 24

First Saturday Opening Reception
September 3, 5-8pm

about the exhibition:

Mediating features works by Vidya Giri and Maria Molteni, each of whom address spirituality and ritual alongside technology in these selections. Both Giri and Molteni arrive at works raising questions about history and ritual in spiritual practices, which are further complicated by video and new media technologies. Their work in conversation asks us to reflect on the body, documentation of rituals, and the various extensions of technology across a range of spiritual practices.

about the artists:

Vidya Giri is an artist from Houston, TX. Her art is reflective of her background, balanced between cultures, environments, and disciplines. Her work has spanned between virtual spaces, video projection, and painting on real and digital canvases. Additionally, her work often contains digital elements and thematic ties to her home of Texas, her adolescence in Southeast Asia, and her Indian heritage. Her current explorations revolve around collecting as a form of reflection and the parallels between natural and human-made identities and the environments they encompass.

Maria Molteni (They/She, b 1983, Nashville) is a queer multi-disciplinary artist, mystic and Shaker researcher. They are the grandchild of Tennessee square dancers, stunt motorcyclists, quilters and beekeepers who farmed land just south of South Union Shaker Village (KY) for generations. Their work blooms from this combination of applied resourcefulness and spirited cultural spectacle, themes they also admire in Shaker culture. Molteni’s practice has grown from formal studies in Painting, Printmaking and Dance to incorporate research, ritual and play-based collaboration.

The artist enjoys tactile and tactical problem solving, giving shape to the unseen. From fiber to found-object sculpture, textile to video, performance to publication, they choose media that combine conceptual rigor, formal satisfaction and spiritual depth. Their intuitive practice spans movement-based and diagrammatic ritual alchemy, astrology, tarot, dreamwork and color magic. As they pull from a well of historical contexts, Molteni playfully pictures themself as a Phys-Ed coach for visionary communities like Shakers, Bauhaus or Black Mountain College. Molteni has been invested in Shaker research, discourse and manifestation since they first visited the living Shaker at Sabbathday Lake, Maine in 2007.

from the artists:

suryanamaskar is a time-based digital sculpture that coordinates movements of the revered suryanamaskar sequence to the solar day.

The origin of the word suryanamaskar is Sanskrit, consisting of (Sūrya) which means ‘sun’ and (Namaskāra) which means ‘greeting’ or ‘salute’. The connected set of asanas, or poses, are performed as a part of modern yoga practices where attention is placed in the flow of the movements and corresponding inhales and exhales. – Vidya Giri

Vidya Giri, suryanamaskar, still from the website, 2021
Maria Molteni, Shaker Work-Out, still from the series, 2020.

The Shakers, known for building spiritual intentional communities across the United States, were ordinary people who opted to forego their families and worldly possessions in order to enter into an extraordinary egalitarian community.

Today, Shakers are considered the longest-running American “utopian” experiment. Their early adopted nickname “Shaking Quakers” referred to their organized and free-form styles of dance worship, which they called “Laboring”. Alternatively, prayer was often called “exercise”. Their marching, singing, whirling, and clapping were carefully constructed activities held within their own sacred spaces as a way to shake off sin or express joy and devotion. While known for their celibacy, Shakers remain present in their bodies despite a long lineage of Christian faiths divorcing the body and spirit.

The Shaker Work-Out positions stylized, improvisational versions of these dances alongside pop hits, functioning as episodic work-out videos that bring forward forms of joy and ritual the Shakers hold high. These videos were shot during a brief residency at Canterbury Shaker Village. They are inspired by over a decade of Molteni’s research in Shaker archives/ spaces combined with a love for movement and pop music. – Maria Molteni