Justin James Reed – Mystic Places


(spreads courtesy of Horses Think Press)

Artist: Justin James Reed
Title: Mystic Places
Publisher: Horses Think Press
Year: 2013

Mystical places defies logic. Immanence and transcendence coexist. Both of this world and reaching outwards, they provide proof, however inexplicable, of something beyond. Something is out there and yet it is here. The only catch is you must believe. You must also be willing to decipher and crack the coded messages or else all is for nothing. Or maybe you’re just a non-believer?

Justin James Reed’s Mystic Places is a baffling book that points to our longing for meaning and our thirst for transcendence. Appropriating a pulpish book of the paranormal and striping it of all text, we are left with an encrypted message without the code. While most might look to such a book for answers, archaic knowledge, the secrets of Stonehenge or the pyramids, nothing is left but a silver spot colour. Rectangular frames hover on the page and frame the erased answers to ancient riddles. Strange drop shadows hover on the periphery. What is casting that shadow? Occasionally, a recognizable form emerges. A mummy. A map. Is that H.P. Blavaksy? Aldous Huxley? Maybe they know? What are those people doing on a ladder?

All belief systems require initiation. They demand the willingness to invest time, learn the code and the language. The text may be gone, but the answers are still there. In the end, the silver frames outline what we each want. We project and fill the spots with what we believe, the languages we’ve accepted, the mystical places we’ve each created, inhabit, visit and glorify. There are mystical places all around us, you just need to look more closely and stop looking for all the answers.