Stop - Look - Listen
I like to look around at other art and artists by frequenting galleries and museums because it’s just not the same as looking at a book or magazine. Recently, I’ve found the work to be rather boring with the same-old-same-olds that don’t inspire me like yet another Claude Monet water lily show. Sure, Monet was a great painter in his day but I’ve seen his work so many times that his relevance in the current modern world is nil other than providing us a stroll down memory lane. I wonder what he would think about global warming in relation to his water lilies? I wonder if the general public is just as bored as I am in looking yet again at the same work I saw 30+ years ago?
I’m also noticing that the music that is being played frequently now in restaurants are the ‘oldies’ from my childhood like Fleetwood Mac. Don’t get me wrong I love those old tunes but how can something almost 50 years old be relevant today? Granted, the current musical playlist from contemporary musicians does not speak to me but I see parallels to the gallery and museum system since the only thing there seems to be an appetite for are the oldies or things so safe and known that they pose no threat to the status quo. It’s a very corporate way of managing and feeding the general public’s appetite but it’s as though there is nothing going on in the current world that is relevant enough to express. We all know that is not true but could it be that we are now audibly and visually tone deaf?
As this pertains to my recent work, I have been incorporating stencils that I am spray painting onto the canvas. Some of the them are true ready-made’s while other’s I’ve been making with my own laser cutter but they are fast, fun and new to me so I’ve started to add them to my work. However and most importantly, the stencils are relevant in that they are visual simplifications of reality that I believe parallel the current visual and audible fear in a modern world of embracing the unknown. Everyone knows what a monkey or a bee look like. It’s an easy reference that needs little interpretation or explanation. Machines, algorithms, etc … more difficult and scary.
This brings me to the importance of the stencils in my work. Not only are they important in that they give me a visual addition and layering to my repertoire but are also visual simplifications emblematic of a childhood simplicity giving my work additional depth and meaning. To me this simplification is very relevant and essential in that it establishes a dialogue with the more recognizable mechanical items in my paintings which are representative of adulthood. The juxtaposition of childlike items with adult items articulates the true developmental paradigm the human race is currently in … can we embrace the complexities of the modern world as adults … or do we stay developmentally retarded in a state of adolescence and childhood longing for a simplified and sanitized version of our past as a way to distract ourselves from the complexities of the present day. Our current political system would have us go back to the safety of the 1850’s but that horse has left the gate and the bell cannot be un-rung. Or can it?