Shawn Thornton Closing Reception + Performance

Shawn Thornton Closing Reception

Wednesday, May 24, 2017. 6:00-8:00PM.
This event is free and open to the public.

Join us for the closing reception of Shawn Thornton's solo exhibition, Pareidoliafeaturing live music performances by Thornton and special guest, Geb the Great Cackler.

Under the alias Babanaga, Thornton creates live, spontaneous compositions using electrified handmade string instruments and improvisations with voice. Babanaga has performed at spaces in Philadelphia including Vox Populi and Big Rock Candy Mountain. Past performances may be viewed on his website.

Geb the Great Cackler is a duo from Philadelphia PA., comprised of acoustic guitar, violin, and voice. The band is named after an ancient Egyptian goose deity who created the cosmic egg containing the sun. Band members Mandy Katz and Justin Duerr are both artists and writers, and involved in the study of history, botany, and archaic craftways. Their music has an ear toward the future, while nested in the present. Listen to Geb the Great Cackler here.


Paredolia was curated by artist Tom Burckhardt and is on view at CUE through May 24, 2017. 

The exhibition includes small-scale oil paintings, videos, and altar-like sculptures produced between 1995 and 2017. “Pareidolia” is a psychological term that refers to the human brain’s tendency to see patterns where none exist—perceiving faces, images, or messages in nature or in everyday objects. Thornton’s intricate work references his own hallucinatory visions, the result of an undiagnosed brain tumor in his pineal gland, which he experienced for over a decade. He also employs a range of images and symbols that reference 16th-century Dutch painting, mandalas, hieroglyphics, and indigenous and mystical traditions, layering them into interwoven compositions that invite the viewer to approximate his otherworldly medical experience, and serve as a mode of research into that experience.

Shawn Thornton lives and works in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and East Madison, Maine. He earned his BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2000, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2002. Thornton was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, and has completed residencies at the Vermont Studio Center and the Ox-Bow School of Art. His work has been included in exhibitions at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Stephen Romano Gallery, and the Philadelphia Institute for Advanced Study, among others.