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Reliquary: Alive With Hope

Dec 8, 2021 to Feb 25, 2022



I reject nature. I condemn all things so described. Under the malign banner of ‘nature’, too much violence has been done. With one anodyne word we have compartmentalized something formidable into a tiny thing that we kick under the table, rather than come to terms with its terrifying truth. We can neither escape nor control nature, so what does it serve to have a word for this all-encompassing, immovable thing? It allows us the egotistical illusion of independence. Reality, existence, the universe, nature, whatever the frame of reference, these words allow us to comprehend something that overwhelms us and imagine it as discrete and external. There is a price to pay for this convenience; the comfort of compartmentalization comes at the cost of limiting our understanding of our role and obligations. It puts blinders on us, and in doing so it absolves us of respect and fear for it. In this impoverished context, ‘nature’ undermines our judgement, our ability to make effective choices about our own survival.



Thomas Campbell, USA
Fuller Vessel
Blackened steel and paint.
68cm.H / 26.75in.H


Now there is a knock at the door that won’t be ignored, it is heat, fires, floods, plagues, and poisons of our own na├»ve making. No, Mr. Wolf, we are sorry, we will fix it! We will tear up the dams, rip out the invasive species, pluck the plastic from the oceans and dig deep holes for the carbon! But we can no more dial back to some mythical virgin state than a seed can crawl back into a fruit that has been eaten. There is no undoing this knot we have tied; it is knot, upon knot, upon knot, in a thread as fine as hair. It is not within our power to undo, to fix what we have mangled and bent in our very efforts to control it. It is our destiny to writhe and iterate and complicate, but we can writhe with elegance and iterate with grace. We can look at our knot and learn from our mistakes.



Janny Baek, USA
Color stained porcelain.
45.5cm.H / 18in.H


We nurture, hone and cultivate traits that we believe will help us survive and succeed. We do this not just with ourselves but with other living things, so that we may benefit from them. To increase the likelihood of receiving the benefit from our work, we cultivate living things in captivity. The cost of captivity is the added burden of selecting not just for the original desired traits, but also for traits that allow them to survive, or perhaps even thrive, in the extra-natural conditions we confine them to.





Growing a plant in a container, a raised and isolated vessel with sides and bottom, is, on the surface, an act of control over nature. But in effect, it is a symbol of our dependence on nature. The container forces us to channel and mediate the things that nature would provide directly. A planter places us in the role of destroyer and guardian. It makes us agents of nature. It affords us the opportunity to realize that we are agents of nature. We are nature. As cells or as animals, we grab at what we have around us, eat it, burn it, build with it. We create tools, intermediaries, to extend our reach, sometimes those tools are alive. We take pride in our elaboration, our complex actions, and we credit our actions to our conscious choices, and feel ownership over them. What a silly illusion. Our atoms and cells conspire, and we play along like children, dazzled by the things we don’t understand. The agency is not ours, it is a force, like gravity, just one part of nature.



Isaac Monte, Netherlands
Planter III
Crystallized minerals, earthenware form, brass foot and inner well, wood base.
40.5cm.H / 16in.H


We need to be reminded that we are of nature. What better metaphor than a container designed to support a living plant? A reliquary is a venerated shelter for an icon, it is a symbol alive with hope. A planter is a reliquary for a living thing that is dependent on your adoration and devotion. "Reliquary" invokes an existential confrontation between the illusion we have created about our power, and the reality of our responsibility within nature. Reliquary is a call to our guardian instinct, and a prayer for our awareness of our ignorant destruction. Reliquary implores us to reject the construct of "nature" to save ourselves.

- Damon Crain





Exhibiting Work By

Coleton Lunt, USA

Elyse Graham, USA (CA)

Isaac Monte, NL

Janny Baek, USA (NY)

Jo Taylor, UK

Matt Repsher, USA (NM)

Thomas Campbell, USA (NC)

Trey Jones, USA (DC)



Jo Taylor, UK
Jardiniere i
Color stained stoneware with porcelain slip.
50cm h / 19.5in