Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tiger Ramblings



wall area 16' x 54', "opening" 10' x 18'


The image in person has a lot more presence than these shots indicate. The wide-angle lens pushes it all away.

When I imagine this middle school gym during a game, with its one wall of bleachers, I imagine a lively and intimate place, very vibrant. It's funny how sporting events are still about an active engagement in physical reality, both for the players and the spectators. No wait, I've really only been to a professional tennis match recently, and I was shocked by the invasion of media. The big screen imagery, mostly advertisements, and the booming music were so intrusive. This all flattened the experience. It was no longer about being an individual in a place, with my own unique observations and input. It was about being swept up psychically into a codified experience.

Perhaps non-commercial sporting events, like at this middle school, are still a good place to have one's own experience (unless everyone is texting the event). If so, I can't help wondering: In real terms, does this commissioned sports mural function more meaningfully than my personal art? It's just so much of the real-event world. It has a place where it functions with great impact. It is exciting and a bit odd to think of this effect in contemporary art terms, re-contextualized as a uber-conceptual performance art piece. Ultimately though, a commissioned tiger mural is a commissioned tiger mural. I'm left pondering the very real impact of this work, in its intended context, versus the more nebulous position of my "real" art work.
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When I was in my 20s, I had no patience for physical reality. It seemed a hindrance. I dreamed of a purely conceptual life, where we connected through thoughts and ideas, none of which required materialization. I wanted to start idea banks. If other universes existed, surely one was purely mathematical. I resented having to eat regularly; this seemed the most ridiculous waste of time. Sleep eight hours a day, every day????I think for most people that time of life is about selective disengagement, be it from parental authority and values, the confines of physicality, or just daily living hassles. I applaud all who spend this period giving themselves and the world a rigorous shakedown.

I can see how enticing and how right, how dead right, seems a technologically achieved concept-based reality. It fulfills my deepest past fantasies of reality.

But I'm finally discovering physical reality and emotional connection, and I really like it. There is a point in painting where ideas generate simultaneously with their own physical incarnation. This is a pretty special experience. One can't go through this and then reject physical reality, not entirely.

I can't help but wonder if most people follow a similar pattern of nihilistic rejection followed by acceptances which then lead to willing engagement.

I'm suggesting that much of our current cultural presumptions arise from a youth-generated outlook, and while the influences of breakneck technological changes can't be denied or diminished, our reliance on youth-centric interpretations creates distortions of which we should be aware. The rich dimensionality of physical and emotional engagement becomes diminished, through the double whammy of technological filtering and youthful disinterest.

I'm not really proposing anything specific here, I'm mainly fascinated that this mural will succeed as a physical experience, more so than anything I create as art. I'm not sure there even is a context for my personal art.


3 comments:

rk said...

It looks great!

Carla said...

Thanks. I should pack up the kitties and become an itinerant mascot painter. I'll need a new personal - name, outfit, etc.

Steven LaRose said...

My hope is that the internet will help us find a context for our personal art. I keep thinking that there will be that one other person out there who will want to include a painting in their physical reality.