Installing my own art show is the second most ego-gratifying activity I know.
As we convert more of our natural world to waste, finding ways to transmute that waste back into product seems an obvious imperative. New York City has recycled paper and plastic for many years and now values food wastes through composting. Thus begins the process of bounding human activity within the ecology of the world we inherited.
My scenes of naked four-armed figures cavorting in palatial and vegetated environments are meant to depict a thoroughly interconnected and interdependent world with people helplessly immersed in it, and architectural elements almost indivisible from vegetated ones. This is not a vision of a possible future, but the vision of an often-unseen present. The future doesn’t exist, but interconnection exists. I’m trying to reveal this living present.
I often ask myself whether or not I’m just contributing to cultural noise. My sculptures are small, dense, and unique, but they express big vision. I know that some people share this vision and are heartened to see it expressed. That’s enough.
This was the best display of my work that I've ever mounted. In addition to lowering the wall pieces about 2" from usual, I added haiku poems which can be seen on the images in this site by clicking the "i" button in the upper right corner of the image.
I sold "Aveena Sativa" and "Noisy Solitude", and probably 300+ people came through the show over the month, which is more exposure than I've ever received in one show. There's a brief Youtube scan of the show with an interview at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KUgNtgXBik&feature=youtu.be
This show and my hopes about it took up an enormous amount of space in my brain for about three months. I guess that was my ego, and perhaps I should learn to engage in the work more dispassionately. When you're trying to make a statement of sanity in a crazy world, which is by definition a statement of resistance, it's hard to be dispassionate.
“Passive aggressive”, “virtual reality”, “fake news”. Oxymorons can bring levity to lies and make them sound matter-of-fact. They also symbolize our age of mendacious “information” sowing confusion and mistrust of the very notion of objective facts. This simple rhetorical trick has become a potent political weapon, and in our polarized society, honest and open public debate is now nearly impossible. In recent decades much artistic talent focused on deconstructing cultural assumptions and language. Now it seems there’s little left to build with. Everything is true or false depending on the assumptions of the hearer.
If “insanity” is defined in part as deviations from a group’s generally accepted behaviors, is “collective insanity” possible or just another oxymoron? Could a group who supports laws and policies that undermine its own ability to make a living be considered “collectively insane”? If only a minority within the group recognized the contradiction, who would consider whom insane, and who would suffer the consequences of the judgment?
The sculptures in this exhibit suggest the agony of these questions but offer no answers, no relief. Some of the sculptures are cathartic, some are confused, but they all bear some edge of anger. Such emotions may not resolve the social problems we’ve created or allowed to develop, but at least the emotions are sincere, and that’s a fact. Artistic inspirations for them include the dioramas in natural history museums (of course), Henry Moore (for his nature-inspired forms), Georgia O’Keefe (for her skill with scale), Sue Coe (for her passion and politics) and Kara Walker (for her irony, humor and politics) among many others.
For several decades, NYC art has had a monumental scale, sometime dwarfing the viewer. The experience sought by the artist must overwhelm the ambient environment, and in NYC the ambient environment is big and loud. My art places the viewer in the larger frame, looking down. My art lets the viewer assume a god pose. But really, aren't we practically godlike in our global footprint? Whole species will live and die (mostly die) by our whim. The geochemistry of the planet itself is being altered on a scale unimaginable not 60 years ago, and some of us are worried while some of us are whistling on the way to bank. The bank may not survive, but those with mountains of "money" in it think they will. The scale of my sculptures allows the viewer to feel the distance and the comfort. But in fact, it's all one world, and we live and expire together. So like all the rest of the art in Chelsea and beyond, mine is a lie.