In the first two-person show showcased by Jean Pierre Arboleda and Hannah Yata, these artists delve into the past and explore the roots of Christianity, and by extension, that of religion. Inspired by the book “The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross” by John Allegro, “Origins” takes a look into how symbolism of the fertility cults and word play in the bible point to a psychedelic past.

It goes back to the very beginning, with Eve eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil, to Jesus and the Holy Grail, to Easter and Christmas emulating strange imagery into a supposedly Christian tradition. The symbolism of the mushroom has buried in these stories. Allegro argues the secrets of the mushroom were hidden in the bible and personified because of the suppression of the ancient fertility/mushroom cults- so it’s possible that without this suppression the tradition could’ve continued word of mouth. Our question is not only if the mushroom was human’s way to understand and communicate with divine if animals don’t have a practice as well. Scientifically, it has been well documented in several cases of mammals to actively seek out and ingest psychoactive substances. Therefore, woven in with our revival of these mushroom cults, is the idea of consciousness and the role of spiritual practice in not only ourselves but our fellow creatures.

Jean Pierre Arboleda and Hannah Yata are two artists living, working, and married together in Lords Valley, Pennsylvania. Animal and nature lovers, they moved to Pennsylvania with their two bunnies from New York to work full time creating art. Jean Pierre’s work focuses mainly on primates and their relationship to humans, while Hannah’s work focuses primarily on the archetype of the feminine and how it relates to ideas of nature.In Gallery II, using the theme of "Origins" as a guide, we have selected a small group of artists that also play with themes of nature, religion, science and mythology in their own body of work.

In the group exhibition, "Origins and Beyond", we will be featuring the intricate drawings of animals by Michele Melcher. Hand-cut collages from old illustrations and antique and decorative papers by Adrienne Slane. Paintings "developed through imagery culled from cultural, sacred and scientific systems" by Darren McManus and twists on classical realism figurative paintings by Jennifer Gannari. Handcrafted sculptures of the "divine" by Michael Campbell and sculptures that resemble geodes, made entirely of paper and resin casts by Paige Smith.