THE ARTISTS CATHY WARD AND CHRISTINE SEFOLOSHA FIND THEIR KINDRED SPIRIT IN A COLLABORATIVE EXHIBITION AT A MAGICAL VENUE
An exhibition featuring works by the artists
Cathy Ward and Christine Sefolosha
49a Museum Street
London WC1A 1LY, England, United Kingdom
Telephone: (44) 020 7405 2120
Exhibition on view from September 18 through September 30, 2023.
The artists will be present at the gallery throughout the day on Saturday, September 23, the date of the 2023 autumn equinox.
by Edward M. Gómez
As the hot summer of 2023 makes way for the fall, the British artist Cathy Ward (Instagram: @wardsisterward) and her Swiss counterpart, Christine Sefolosha (Instagram: @christine_sefolosha), are teaming up to present a two-artist exhibition at Atlantis Bookshop, one of London’s most famous sites, both with regard to British literary history and, more specifically, with regard to a rich canon of lore concerning magic and magicians.
Founded a century ago, Atlantis Bookshop specializes in books and materials related to magic, the occult, and esoterica. Aleister Crowley, Dion Fortune, W.B Yeats, Israel Regardie and Gerald Gardner — these are just a few of the well-known magicians who, in the past, made Atlantis Bookshop their gathering place and availed themselves of its abundant resources.
Ward, who serves as brutjournal’s London-based artist-correspondent, is known for making paintings, drawings, and sculptures that refer directly or more suggestively to the human body, nature’s enigmatic forces, and psychic-spiritual energies. Sefolosha’s paintings often seem to evoke a sense of powerful primordial forces and, like Ward’s, can be beautifully haunting.
The two artists are calling their presentation “Efnniht Hexibition,” a title whose peculiar look and sound Ward explained in an e-mail message.
She told us, “‘Efnniht’ is an Old English way of saying ‘equinox.’ ‘Hexibition’ was our own conjured-up word, but here, we’re using ‘hex’ in a positive manner. ‘To put a hex on someone or something’ doesn’t always mean to inflict harm. ‘Hex’ can simply refer to the conjuring up of magic, charm, enchantment, or allure. The exhibition is being presented in Atlantis Bookshop’s subterranean Gerald Gardner Room. Christine and I are showing what we regard as our alchemical works on paper alongside specially made paper-lantern sculptures we’ve created to welcome visitors to the exhibition.”
On her way from Switzerland, where she lives and works, to London for the opening of the autumn-equinox art event, Sefolosha also sent us an e-mail message. In it, she noted, “For a long time, I’ve followed with interest Cathy’s work, which she regularly posts on Instagram, plus I especially recall the pieces she showed in the past at Galerie Toxic in Luxembourg, which I immediately liked.”
Sefolosha added, “Cathy and I share a certain interest in that which lies on the margins, that which celebrates the values of authenticity, deep inspirations, and strangeness, no matter what its origin or definition might be. Like Cathy, I like setting off to explore worlds that don’t reveal themselves right away. Her need to be linked to the universe in a broad sense, through dreams, magic, and all sorts of timeless symbols — it seems to me that we have this in common.”
In the exhibition, Sefolosha is showing mixed-media works with such titles as “The Many Faces of the Moon” and “Snake Dancer.” Several of her compositions bring to mind the formal power of richly patterned spiritual-religious art. Ward’s works, with such titles as “Efnniht — Persephone & Demeter at the Gateway” and “Sun Star,” evoke the spirit of ancient myths, even as the artist’s awareness of her own persona seems to waft through them, bouncing their thematic concerns self-reflectively back on their creator.
Ward said, “It has been a revelation working with Christine. We’re both so formed as artists that there has been no competition. Instead, our experiences have made for a dynamism that has allowed us to go far. I think this project was just a start. We support and work with each other while understanding the solitude to which the artist’s lifestyle leads us. We’re both very committed, and our bodies have become a bit wrecked after many years creating art. Teaming up with Christine — this has been a very welcome union.”
Sefolosha said, “Our idea was to meld references to various ancient beliefs surrounding this moment when summer ends, and autumn takes its place in equilibrium between the day and the night.”
As for the exhibition’s unique venue, the Swiss artist observed, “It is a place that is charged with the spirits of all of those who frequented it in the past. It’s certainly imbued with a spirit of freedom, of desires for a mythical beyond, and of the need for spiritual adventures.”
[Scroll down to see more works from the exhibition by Cathy Ward and Christine Sefolosha.]