Zen Psychosis

November 1, 2019

by Shana Nys Dambrot
Photographs by Osceola Refetoff

172 pages, hardcover, 5 X 8 inches, 33 photographs


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Congratulations to Shana Nys Dambrot & Osceola Refetoff for Zen Psychosis being included in the 2020 L.A. Taco Book Guide: 32 L.A.-Centered Books to Read, Gift, and Get Inspired On.

Video recording of livestreamed April 20th reading from Chungking Studio (talk starts at about the 4-minute mark): https://www.facebook.com/ChungkingStudio/videos/557837838470387/

L.A. Weekly podcast, March 6th: https://www.laweekly.com/slipping-into-zen-psychosis-with-l-a-weekly-arts-editor-shana-nys-dambrot

Signed copies can now be purchased & shipped to you directly from A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books — a brilliant place for all your art-book and (culture podcast) needs! www.aggeiger.com/shop/zen-psychosis-86bel 

Zen Psychosis on Instagram: instagram.com/zenpsychosis 

Shana Nys Dambrot was interviewed by Flaunt Magazine about the inspirations and influences for the book and her collaboration with photographer Osceola Refetoff.

“The Los Angeles-based art critic, curator, and now author has taken scenes from her unconscious and transposed them into something tangible and inventive.” — Bree Castillo in FLAUNT Magazine.

Poet Milo Martin wrote of the book:

“The new novella by Shana Nys Dambrot, “Zen Psychosis” is so serpentine sandy dreamy hyper-romantic Anais Nin naked Joan Didion kissing Henry Miller… not to mention the lush pinhole camera photographs by Osceola Refetoff…”

Dambrot and Refetoff were the guests on the A.G. Geiger Podcast in advance of the launch event.

Press mentions surrounding the January 25 launch event at A.G. Geiger Fine Art Books:
Art & Cake included us in their recent Recommended Artists Books roundup.
Osceola was interviewed in Victoria Looseleaf’s DaVinci Questionnaire.
LA Art Party featured the event
Cartwheel Art featured the event.
Location Managers Guild Magazine featured the event.

Zen Psychosis is a work of experimental fiction: the attempt to construct a personal memoir culled not from diaries, but dreams. In a way, as the scenes are taken from my own journals, this book is not fiction at all; the dreams are real, their meanings form a story. As a critic of art and an amateur student of Jungian psychoanalysis, I am often compelled to decode intuitive, inscrutable symbols and assemble meaning from the clues the dream or the artist leaves behind. In this novel, I’m applying the technique to my own inner self.

This was directly inspired by Henry Miller, who in 1923 slipped an account of a vivid dream into a collection of short stories in [Black Spring]. “Into the Nightlife: A Coney Island of the Mind” later became an illustrated book in a collaboration between Miller and the artist Bezalel Schatz in 1947, as its tantalizing surrealism and literary voice actively blurred the boundaries between experience and imagination.

The accompaniment of fantastical pinhole photographs by Osceola Refetoff augments and expands on this dynamic; bringing a beguiling dreamlike quality to what are in fact, people and places in the real world outside ourselves. As an artist and student of cinema, Refetoff has long been fascinated with the conventional visual language of what dreams are supposed to look like.

Shana Nys Dambrot is an art critic, curator, and author based in Downtown LA. She is the Arts Editor for the L.A. Weekly, and a contributor to Flaunt, Artillery, and other publications. She studied Art History at Vassar College, writes essays for books and exhibition catalogs, curates and juries exhibitions, and speaks at galleries, schools, and cultural institutions nationally. Dambrot is a member of ArtTable and an award-winning member of the Los Angeles Press Club.

Osceola Refetoff is a photographer interested in documenting humanity’s impact on the world, both the intersection of nature and industry, and the narratives of the people living at those crossroads. His parallel careers as an editorial and fine art photographer are characterized by an evocative, cinematic understanding of how scale, point of view, architecture, and motion can express the essence of a given place. Osceola graduated from NYU Film School and is the recipient of the 2018 Los Angeles Press Club National Photojournalist of the Year.