I was just developing some film in my darkroom (only two rolls left from Photostock… they will be done tonight!) and while loading the rolls onto the reels in the dark, I thought about the fact that I close my eyes while loading the film, and I picture the movements in my mind’s eye. Never you mind that it is pitch black in the darkroom at that moment, so it makes no difference if my eyes are closed or not. The room’s not getting any darker with my eyes closed. It also made me think about how someone who is blind from birth perceives things like that- I KNOW what my gestures look like because I’ve seen them – I have a definite sense of the space they use and the way they form my body even with my eyes closed. But what is someone who is blind’s perception of such things? I’ve only ever talked with blind folks on a couple of occasions, and I don’t recall them using gestures when talking. If it is something they’ve never experienced, would they even be able to describe it to someone who is sighted?
I read this post by my friend Jeremy Moore the other day and wanted to pass it along. I wholeheartedly agree. I still push myself to go to see contemporary shows because I want to see what people are doing, and while it’s not a universal constant, I am disappointed more often than I am delighted by what I’m seeing on the walls. Too often the idea that the concept should take primacy over the craftsmanship has evolved so far that the idea of craftsmanship seems to be not just second-fiddle, but non-existent. Prints that aren’t spotted, contrast corrected, burned/dodged, or color corrected are far too common. I think it’s a symptom of the age that thoughts no matter how unfinished are all given equal value, and he (or she) who can shout their idea the loudest gets credit. Sometimes it feels as if you’re back in high school at the Model UN debate club and the teachers have stepped out of the room – everyone’s still on-focus enough to stick to debating the topic at hand, but all sense of moderation and argument has been thrown out the window – “I think the solution to the Arab-Israeli problem is to give Jerusalem to Tibet and let the Buddhists run it!” “And why do you think that would work?” “Because!” “Nuke em’ all and let God and Allah figure out between themselves which bodies belong to whose faith” and so on…
I’ve been getting asked for these things more and more recently, and it drives me nuts – it’s not that I’m incapable of writing something thoughtful and relevant about my work, but I’m often submitting different bodies of work to different target audiences, and I have to compose something de novo every time I submit. It’s good to hear that serious gallerists find artists statements somewhere between a distraction and an obstacle to sales.
My most recent artist’s statement:
My work is about human relationships and perception. “Human Commodities” uses humor to deal with a critically serious topic – the way in which we categorize, pigeonhole and commodify each other especially when it comes to intimate relationships. Men, especially, and especially by other men, are categorized as desirable or not based on their physical attributes – musculature, age, race, hair or lack thereof. When seeking a partner, we tend to use food analogies to describe the object of desire. This is natural, as sex is surpassed as a primal urge perhaps only by food. However, by objectifying people, especially through a food metaphor, it reduces them and de-humanizes them. I mean to interrogate and trouble this objectifying process by throwing into (comic) relief the process of commodification of men. I mean to challenge the viewer to question the very stereotypes they use to categorize objects of sexual desire – what makes one man qualify for “prime beef” instead of “sausage”, and can those very same criteria be turned on their head situationally to transform the subject?
How does that work for you?