BELLEVUE ARTS MUSEUM, WA
Janice Arnold’s Chthonic Tent from the Royal Encampment Tent series was inspired by the portable collapsible dwellings of felt that have been the home to generations of Turkic-Mongolian tribes for almost 2,000 years. During the reign of Genghis Khan, yurts and tents, utilized for their ease of mobility, enabled the royal court to have total freedom of travel, allowing them to accompany their leader on military campaigns. People lived their lives completely reliant on felt—quite literally swaddled in it at birth, surrounded by it in everyday life and wrapped in it for burial. To this day, similar portable dwellings remain integral to the life of Central Asian cultures. Even in our car-driven culture of mobility, the tent remains a symbol of the unfiltered experience of nature and and an expression of freedom: of travel and adventure.
Chthonic Tent draws upon the multilayered symbolism of the tent to lightly touch upon the transience of the journey of life, while at the same time alluring the audience into the atmosphere of a fantastical, dream-like environment with its fairy-tale castle-like shape. Much like the alchemical transformation of the raw wool fiber into elegant and soft fabric by means of the application of water, heat and pressure, Chthonic Tent transforms the viewer into a dreamer by attracting him inside to experience a full immersion into light, color and softness, and by transporting him to places of his imagination.