This essay was written by Carroll Beauvais for the group show that premiered this work.
"Every reform movement," Theodore Roosevelt famously said, "has a lunatic fringe." Though he was speaking pejoratively, the artists whose work is featured here embrace their outer-edged lunacy, forming a contingent of radicals who share a vision for the gutsy while living on the fringe of the cosmopolis of New York City and the verge of an endless Syracuse winter. The bold spectrum of colors in these works evoke an emotional range from mania to melancholy, conjuring the fluorescent thrill of the adult shops that line Erie Boulevard to the lonely solitude of the silver moon. They reveal new truths about the familiar world we wake in daily, a world we thought we knew so well.
It should come as no surprise then that "lunaticus," the origin of "lunatic," literally means "moonstruck." Lunacy or the frivolous foolery of those with their "heads in the clouds" has often been attributed to artists, whose mad passion spurs them to portray what is often overlooked or considered mere folly. The work on this wall represents a slant reality that is as true as science, though only visible through art. These paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, and videos resist conformity and refuse to be chained to realm of tradition; they seek to raise questions rather than provide easy answers. This tuning in and responding to the unseen is in itself a form of "lunar lunacy," a belief in the moon’s mystical effects on human emotions and behavior that the rational, scientific mind will dismiss as superstitious fodder. Thank heavens for the irrational, audacious lunatic fringe. Without the marginalized outsider, who can we trust to be the dreamer that will give us a world we already know, but give it to us revived? These bold and electrifying works of art awaken us. They are the voice of the lunatic fringe, visualized. Listen to their anthem. Can you feel the resistance? The thunder?