DARK NIGHT OF THE SOUL
April 1- April 31, 2019
The Vaunt Collection is pleased to announce its premier online exhibition, Dark Night of the Soul, by Jessica Todd. The show features a compilation of 15 graphite drawings from her series, Disintegration, Crippling, and Form.
These three series, along with a few extras, were created over the course of five years, during a period of self-examination that eventually led to Jessica Todd transitioning out of the commercial fashion industry.
Dark Night of the Soul is the culmination of these drawings, which when she began executing had no intention to share with the public. It was a personal process to better understand the cause of her internal conflict.
I kind of felt this loss of purpose, this loss of many things about myself, like there’s something going on, and I had no idea what it was. All I knew is that I felt just really unimportant and without any purpose. That’s why I really tore into these dress forms and just ripped them apart.
Influenced by Western Hermetic magic, such as Thelema, Todd understood the importance of these dark times as a greater process of personal growth, rather than a regrettable phase in her life. Using concepts of spiritual alchemy – turning lead into gold – realized it was important to conclude this ritual by giving these drawings an empowered sense of purpose. By releasing them to the public in the form of an art exhibition she was able to transform what was once pain and suffering caused by her lack of fulfillment as an artist, into a new career path in fine art.
The artist assembled each series by going through each work and recalling the emotions she was experiencing when they were created. Thus, each series follows an emotional trajectory rather than a temporal timeline. Because she had originally not planned showing these works to the public, the works are not dated. But time is irrelevant. The order of the phases of her personal growth through her dark night provides us a complete narrative.
Disintegration was the initial stage of pouring her pain onto paper, without quite understanding what ritual she had begun. In Crippling she is still in a subjective state, but she becomes self-aware of what she is experiencing and the importance of the process she is undergoing by translating her feelings onto paper. In Form her works have fully identified with the relationship between her emotions and her art.
Dark Night of the Soul contains the elements of the artist’s palette: fashion, magic, identity. These seeds were planted in dark soil that began sprouting in Dark Night of the Soul, and continue to grow through new projects the artist is currently creating. This exhibition is not just the end result of a dark phase, it is the beginning of an artistic enlightenment.
Jessica Todd’s formal studies in fine art began at Metro Arts High School in Phoenix, Arizona, a school designed for young artists to develop a focused area in fine art while also receiving a general education. During her four-year attendance, she studied photography, sculpture, and ceramics. After graduating, she pursued fashion design at International Academy of Design and Technology, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts.
Her education led fluidly into a career in the commercial fashion industry, where she worked as an executive/production assistant at Couture, the Clothing Co., in Los Angeles, as a Halloween costume designer for Palamon International in Hangzhou, China, and most recently, as a Lingerie Design Coordinator for Bennett and Company in Massachusetts. But as her career advanced, she became disenchanted by the lack of imagination and creativity in commercial fashion. She views fashion much like how she views art; it is transformative, communicative and self-expressive in its purest form. Since the commercial industry was not meeting her creative outlet, she decided to combine her professional experience with her talents in drawing and sculpture to forge a new career path.
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