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VLM Creates a Butterfly Effect in East Austin’s Women & Their Work Gallery

The multimedia artist explores human connection and the boundaries of reality through exhibit, "Eye Moon Cocoon"

Virginia L. Montgomery “Eye Moon Cocoon”

Women & Their Work has welcomed Austin-based artist VLM — aka Virginia L. Montgomery — to its East Austin gallery for a solo exhibition centering around the human psyche and its infinite connections to the physical world.

“Does consciousness shape the moon, the egg, the eye? And how can consciousness re-shape us through healing?” asks VLM. In her latest exploration, “Eye Moon Cocoon,” don’t be surprised if you uncover more questions than answers.

The reality-bending experience intertwines video, sound, performance photography and sculpture to delve into seemingly contradictory worlds. Forming her own vocabulary of symbolism throughout her career, you’ll catch repeating visual themes of natural and manufactured objects like moths, stones, circles and machinery. However, these familiar structures are transformed into a surreal dreamscape that challenges the viewer’s expectation of what they know with what they feel. 

VLM uses her empathic understanding and professional skill set to inform her distinct perspective and creative outlets. Aside from her artistic work, which has been showcased in museums and galleries from all over Austin to across the globe, VLM’s day job is just as multifaceted. Working as a Graphic Facilitator, the creative travels to innovation conferences, such as TED Talks, and in real time translates words and ideas into hand-drawn images, pulling together big ideas and meanings into one visual mural that becomes much more engaging and memorable for attendees. She in turn uses a similar method on herself, examining her own internal thoughts, somatic experiences and emotions in search of deeper, dormant psychological interpretations.

Women & Their Work (photo by Alexandra Vanderhider)

In particular, her work with moths and butterflies have significantly informed her art and are a central theme in “Eye Moon Cocoon.” Often seen in her videos, she has adopted the practice of hand-raising native Texas Luna moths. Her latest exhibition continues her ongoing study of these small, yet intricate creatures alongside representations of the moon and subsequently the many variations of meaning associated with it. The artist even introduced live cocoons to moon rocks held at the NASA Space Center in Houston, which later hatch before your eyes in “Moon Moth Bed.” 

From a global perspective to deeply personal memories, VLM’s artwork cleverly highlights how even through our varied and unique individual experiences we remain connected with each other and the spaces we inhabit on an atomic, universal level. Even the simple gesture of a moth unraveling its wings during its first moments of life can have a profound impact. It’s a message of hope, togetherness and ultimately healing, and in this space the only limit is your imagination. 

“Eye Moon Cocoon” will remain on display through Nov. 30 at Women & Their Work.