Travess Smalley, Acid Collada 1, 2011
Excerpt/ Smalley’s prints and videos in “Rendered Aura” relate the peculiar condition of our technologically enabled extensions, their physiological and psychological affects. The title of the exhibition itself – “Rendered Aura” – seems to describe an aura that can be intentionally called up or “rendered.” In other words, a manufactured aura, an aura that has become alienated and functionalized, if such an impossible thing could exist in Walter Benjamin’s theory. The aura, which Benjamin viewed as the singular, cultish authenticity surrounding an object, cannot reemerge. He expresses this in the Work of Art essay, stating, “When the age of mechanical reproduction separated art from its basis in cult, the semblance of its autonomy disappeared forever.” Eternally lost, perhaps we could see a desire to regain the mysticism of the cult object in the transcendence offered by psychedelia and psychedelic experiences. Smalley’s vivid artwork, which actively filters the seductive radiance of commercial psychedelia into something other, promises this seemingly divine encounter, however unattainable it may be.
— “Flashback” Essay for the exhibition catalog for Travess Smalley: Rendered Aura at Gloria Maria Gallery, Milan, Italy November-January 2012