SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA. Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to announce The Invisible Seventh is the Mystic Column, a solo-exhibition featuring Santa Barbara-based artist Shana Moulton.
Shana Moulton works with video, installation, and performance to explore the anxiety, isolation, and mystical journeys of her alter-ego, Cynthia, as she traverses an evolving, yet cyclical loop of self-diagnosis and treatment. Moulton’s video series Whispering Pines, originating in 2002 and named after the senior mobile home park run by her parents near Yosemite, follows Cynthia on surreal and uncanny adventures as she attempts to reconcile societal anxieties, while grappling with existential discomfort. Appropriating New Age therapies, personal wellness products, physical movement, and spiritual healing, Cynthia attempts transcendence, navigating the complex territory of self-excavation and self-care in her search for meaning.
Essentially a caricature wavering between gravity and humor, between critique and emphatic acquiescence, Cynthia embodies Moulton’s quest for liberation from earthly suffering, which, in Cynthia’s case, is inextricably tied to her physical body and psychological isolation. The discomfort and uneasiness that haunt her do not belong exclusively within the universe of Whispering Pines. More than a year into the pandemic, deep-seated feelings of isolation, alienation, anxiety, and loneliness, are pervasive. We, as audience members, are more clearly attuned to the eccentric coping mechanisms of Moulton’s persona, as they are now uniquely familiar to us.
Major works exhibited at MCASB include videos The Pink Tower, 2019, Whispering Pines 10, 2018, and the titular work of the exhibition, The Invisible Seventh is the Mystic Column, 2021. The Pink Tower bears references to the local community, having been filmed in and around the campus of University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), where Moulton is currently an assistant professor. Whispering Pines 10 has been described as an eco-feminist Gesamtkunstwerk by composer Nick Hallet, Moulton’s collaborator on this particular episode. The Invisible Seventh isthe Mystic Column, shot and edited by Moulton while in quarantine, will continue to evolve throughout the course of the exhibition and visitors are invited to return multiple times to see how the piece develops over time.
Shana Moulton: The Invisible Seventh is the Mystic Column is curated by Alexandra Terry, Chief Curator, MCASB.
About the Artist
Shana Moulton (b. 1976, Oakhurst, California, USA) lives and works in Santa Barbara, California. Over the past 18 years she has been developing her ongoing video/performance series Whispering Pines, in which she plays the role of “Cynthia,” both a fictional figure and the artist’s alter ego.
She has shown her work extensively both in the USA and internationally, including solo shows at the Palais De Tokyo in Paris, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Art in General in New York, the Zabludowicz Collection in London, the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Cleveland. She has performed at The Museum of Modern Art, The New Museum of Contemporary Art, The Kitchen in New York, The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and many others. Moulton’s work has been featured in Artforum, The New York Times, ArtReview, Art in America, Flash Art, Artpress, Metropolis M, BOMB Magazine, and Frieze, among others.
Moulton earned her BA from University of California, Berkeley, in art and anthropology and her MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at University of California, Santa Barbara.
About Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara
Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is a non-profit, non-collecting museum dedicated to the exhibition, education, and cultivation of the art of our time. Formerly Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Forum (CAF), MCASB is the premier venue for contemporary art between Los Angeles and San Francisco. MCASB is located at the Paseo Nuevo Upper Arts Terrace in downtown Santa Barbara, California.