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Opening Reception:

Thursday, September 14 from 6-9pm

Gallery Hours:

Saturdays 12-5pm and by appointment

September 9, 2023 - October 7, 2023

AUTOMAT Collective is excited to present MYTHOGEMS, a group show featuring Philippa Beardsley, Alex Griffin, Jackie Shatz, and Zachary Simonson, curated by Kimi Pryor.


I imagine cities so I can get lost in them.

- Charles Simic, “The World Doesn’t End”

Vestiges of thought, memories, and dreams settle and sift within us in sedimentary layers. Mining psyche, the artists in this show use this raw material to build Mythogems, units of mythological meaning which extend beyond personal interiority into the shared culture of myth. The butterfly, nightbird, cat, lion, lover, and angelic being become emblems who guard portals, pass thresholds, and navigate between the worlds of shape and spirit. Quiet chambers, corridors, courtyards, and cities speak to secret histories and the ghostly remnants of energy and personal exchange. These mysterious forms and spaces mirror aspects of consciousness; reflecting on those aspects of ourselves which exist in realms outside of our prosaic everyday.

Jackie Shatz and Zachary Simonson extract crystallized spaces and figures from the subconscious, blurring boundaries of painting and sculpture in the process. Simonson constructs dreamlike architectural models - inspired by cloisters and arcades - as imaginary sanctuaries where one can play and explore, as well as be hidden and vulnerable. Shatz selects images from paintings as guides for her intuitive sculptures, which act as free-floating embodiments of emotion and psychological states while alluding to classical and mythological archetypes.

Philippa Beardsley and Alex Griffin paint from photographs and reflections their encounters with old buildings in Philadelphia; using layers and histories of mark-making, scraping, and erasure to create dreamy, intimate tableaux of places once stumbled upon. Repopulating these spaces with spectral figures and animals, the sites exist in a timeless lucent space between memory and imagination.

Philippa Beardsley (b. NJ) lives and works in Philadelphia. She received her BFA in Painting from the University of the Arts and an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Her work has been shown at Gross McCleaf, Cerulean Arts, the Woodmere Art Museums, and Vox Populi. She has also shown in Europe and South Korea.

Alex Griffin received his B.F.A. from Virginia Commonwealth University in Painting and Printmaking in 2008. Griffin’s work has appeared in solo and group exhibitions throughout the United States, including at the Woodmere Art Museum in Philadelphia, PA. From 2017 until 2019, he was associated with The Professional Artist Membership Program at the Mainline Art Center. Today, Griffin’s paintings are included in private collections across the country and abroad.

Jackie Shatz currently resides in Rockland County, N.Y. She is a sculptor who thinks she is a painter. She has exhibited in venues in New York City and the surrounding area. She is a teacher and a curator. She is the recipient of an NEA Artist fellowship, a Tree of Life Grant and a Gottlieb Foundation Grant.

Zack Simonson is interested in why he is interested, exploring this through the act of self-discovery and self-organization. His work exists at an intermediary between the real and the imagined, a space where play and invention become an act of meditation. His work has been shown at Pentimenti and Tiger Strikes Asteroid in Philadelphia, as well as Anna Zorina in New York. He currently lives and works in Philadelphia, where he teaches and maintains an at home studio practice.

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