Jenny Sidhu Mullins: American Temple at Flashpoint June 18

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Jenny Sidhu Mullins: American Temple
June 18 – July 23, 2011
Opening Reception: Saturday, June 18, 5-7pm
Jenny Sidhu Mullins, Spiritual Accessories No. 2 (detail), 2011, graphite, 
flocking powder on Japanese paper, 36 x 27 inches

Artist Jenny Sidhu Mullins spent the last year on a Fulbright scholarship exploring spiritual tourism in India. Flashpoint Gallery is pleased to present work inspired by that trip in Mullins’ first solo exhibition in Washington, DC, American Temple. The exhibition is comprised of an interactive, immersive sculpture dubbed, The New American Spiritual Tent and a series of graphite portraits of monkeys sporting intensely colored chakras.

The New American Spiritual Tent is a freestanding tent that contains a modified version of a slot machine that Mullins claims will accurately determine each visitor’s purity level. This machine asks a series of questions to determine each individual’s spiritual integrity. Questions range from, “Do you compost?” to “Are you a good person?” The New American Spiritual Tent blends references ranging from 19th century Christian revivalist camps to the 2009 Sedona new-age sweat lodge tragedy. Both a tongue-in-cheek jab and a serious inquiry into the American lifestyle, Mullins explores the idea of spirituality as a product. The artist explains, “I see a general repulsion of our own consumer culture and I see a movement wanting to rectify this. The irony is that the reaction against consumer culture is made manifest in yet more consumerism. Yoga accessories, Starbucks to-go mugs and Aveda’s line of Chakra body mists are just a few hallmarks of this recent trend.”

The monkey portraits, from a series called Spiritual Accessories, lend human qualities to several different species of monkeys. Mullins combines minute graphite renderings with candy-colored chakras, using flocking powder to add a tactile surface. Mullins draws inspiration from naturalists like John James Audubon to touch on the complex role of spirituality in America. Mullins states, “I want to depict people who try to affect change, however noble or misguided.” The monkeys assume names like Sir Applewhite, in reference to the leader of Heaven’s Gate and Master L.R. Hubbard, founder of Scientology, to suggest an American cannon of spiritual seekers. (To read more about Jenny’s adventures in India, read her blog: )

The exhibition opens with a reception on Saturday, June 18 from 5-7pm. Flashpoint Gallery will partner with The Pink Line Project to present a Pink Panel @ Flashpoint with the artist on July 20 at 6:30pm.

Jenny Sidhu Mullins recently concluded a Fulbright Nehru grant in India researching spiritual tourism. Mullins received her BFA in Studio Art from The University of Texas at Austin and later her MFA at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009. Mullins lives and works in Washington, DC, participating at the Arlington Arts Center as a resident artist and is represented by Hamiltonian Gallery. Her work is internationally exhibited and most recently featured in the American Embassy in Mumbai’s permanent collection as well as being featured in several national publications including the 2009 edition of New American Painting.

Her meticulous, large-scale paintings and interactive sculptures explore notions of commercial mythology and low budget mysticism. Mullins’ work questions cultural stereotypes by combining aspects of eastern and western culture.

Flashpoint Gallery is dedicated to nurturing artists, expanding their visibility and encouraging dialogue between artists and arts patrons. As a nonprofit gallery, Flashpoint provides a special opportunity for artists and curators to present new media, site-specific installations, performance pieces and other experimental forms free from the constraints of commercial expectations. An advisory panel of noted artists and arts professionals oversees the programming for the gallery and provides mentorship and support to exhibiting artists. Flashpoint Gallery, a CuDC project, is generously supported by The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, The Kresge Foundation, the MARPAT Foundation, the Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Prince Charitable Trusts, The Washington Post and many other generous partners. Hotel Helix is Flashpoint’s 2010-2011 Hotel Partner. Barefoot Wine is Flashpoint’s 2010-2011 Wine Partner. American Airlines is the official airline of CuDC.

Flashpoint Gallery • 916 G Street, NW • Washington, DC 20001

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