Archetypes in Space

Exhibition: Anima Vestra
Artist: Ann London-Zvejnieks
St. Tammany Art Assoc. Art House
Covington, Louisiana, USA
February 13 – March 27, 2021

Below are a few images from a fantastic exhibition of works by London-Zvejnieks. The images struck me as powerful archetypes. The charcoal medium, sans color, really allows a focus on character and on the lines and strokes. Most engaging about the lines and strokes, I thought, is how they place the figures in space. Also, to me they gave the effect of ancient (and periodically revived) rubbing art. To be honest, someone advised against that comparison because it might sound like I was suggesting cheap duplicates of something else. It is true that rubbing art suggests an image taken from something else – e.g., from an original relief image of brass or wood or stone – but I don’t mean to say the works here seem copied from other originals but rather that London-Zvejnieks uses this effect to create a kind of internal palimpsest that adds power to the archetypes. What are archetypes after all? Images in the collective unconscious (or at the “primitive roots of consciousness” as Carl Jung says), buried under layers and layers of history on the cultural level and buried under layers and layers of conscious memories on the personal level. Buried, primeval, perhaps forgotten on the conscious level, but still exerting an enormous influence on the way we think and feel and see the world. In that sense, I think the presentation of the images as something emerging from behind the surface of these larger charcoal strokes — or, with the larger exhibition in mind, emerging from the primeval African landscapes and fauna that London-Zvejnieks draws from — is perfect.

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