Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara (MCASB) is pleased to announce the solo exhibition of Santa Barbara-based artist Shana Moulton entitled The Invisible Seventh is the Mystic Column.
Shana Moulton (b. 1976, Oakhurst, California, USA) 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 is the 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.
Generous support for Shana Moulton: The Invisible Seventh is the Mystic Column provided by Galerie Crèvecœur, MCASB Board of Trustees, MCASB Visionaries, and Paseo Nuevo.
This project was made possible thanks to Anabella Acevedo, Alex Blair, Julia Campos, Eric Chirnside, Alexandra Cole, Christina Davis, Sarah Dildine, Breyer Floyd, Arturo Heredia Soto, Jacquelyn Klein-Brown, Mark Koenig, Lisa Lloyd, Edmundo Lopez, Cesar Lopez, Laura Macker Johnston, Davin Mantell, Marni Margerum, Matthew Mehi, Kyle Millhollin, Debby Peterson, PIP Printing, Maria Rendón, Crosby Slaught, Evelyn Thoen, Mark Tollefson, Cara Treadwell, Charlie Walker, and Ethan Waterfall.