Ode to the West Wind
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,
Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened Earth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Sokari Douglas Camp
In the dead of Winter, even February can see a temporary thaw. Such moment of relative warmth reminds us that, from the raw West Wind blowing across Chelsea from the Hudson, eventually come warmer breezes to usher in the rebirth the blossoming of a creative Spring.
In this, the final section of “Ode to the West Wind,” Shelley takes a remarkable turn, transforming the wind into a metaphor for his own art, the expressive capacity that drives “dead thoughts” like “withered leaves” over the universe, to “quicken a new birth” — that is, to quicken the coming of the Spring. Metaphorically, this Spring symbolizes the possibilities of the poetic faculties, and the powers of aesthetic expression — a guiding spirit of this new group show at Stux. Encompassing painting, photography, and sculpture, the works on view each seek in their own way to awaken the allusive imagination of the viewer, sparking inventive connections that will play through the gallery space, building a new fire, stoked by this wind.