Friday, January 7, 2011

Ex-pire: (State of Mind)

I was researching the history of the French Academy and learned that one of their objectives was to cultivate the French language as the premiere language to discuss culture by developing words and phrases that embedded whole concepts that could be used in discussing Art and Taste. One of these words is/was(?) "decadence". It's root word is "decay". And while we typically think of lavish and rich ornament and excessive abundance of pleasure as decadent, we hardly stop to think of it as a form of decay. Lo, the realization that it might refer to morality... and that we have come to desire a decaying morality based in gluttony and lust. But that's no surprise, really, we are ever fallible human beings. (*The word "folly" is also a great study.)

Recent pop culture has experienced a huge surge of decadent artist from the Black Eyed Peas to Lady Gaga to Ed Hardy to Desperate Housewives to The Bachelor (choosing from 30 women?)... the overly lush texturing of electronic sounds set to rhythm, expensive layering of image upon image that fetishizes glamour and glitter. Fool's gold as a French moralist might describe it.

It's a fine line we walk with desire. The whole of humanity has forever been challenged from the beginning to know when our morality is healthy or in dire need of reconciliation for our decay. There is the constant disharmony of endeavour and condition. As Solomon Burke sings "The part of me that wants to change, fights the part of me that tries."

I have spent the last 4 years putting myself through a rigorous series of experiences (I now claim them as choice, but I would also be foolish to believe that I would actually choose them) that have opened my eyes to some of the greater conditions of humankind. I have looked through lenses that most people are not even aware exist, I've lived in some of the darkest corners of Life's alleyways, lived as an island, as a fingernail on the hand of benevolence, as a speck of dust (dead skin) in the corner of a room, as a lighthouse for lost ships, as a grain of sand on an endless beach. Beating on closed doors, dancing in fields of an urban bric-a-brac... Viva La Vida!!!

With great pleasure, I have picked up my brush and my pen and my pencil and have begun to set forth my heart without reserve.

After a four year hiatus from commited painting, I am making my way back to where it is I am supposed be. It is my hope to reveal the innate goodness of humankind, but for now I must reprove the decay. This first series of drawings (Ex-pire: State of Mind) takes the fundamentalism of immorality and fine tunes the focus or spins it out to dystopian fantasy of damnation and curse using the language of "grotesque" ornament and boroque themes. I hope to make them exciting to look at, but evoke contemplation of our own involvement in these extreme places of deterioration; not to convict as a judge or promote mediocrity or suspension of "lukewarm" attitudes, but to notice and incite disgust in the laxity of our accountability to our authenticity of human values. I want to encourage viewers to recognize the comfort they have in being who they are and to take the oppurtunity to be who they want to be, because I genuinely believe that we all desire to be upright in our taste and deed for the greater good of our community by standing firm in what is morally right, not what is morally relative... and as we recognize what is unique, we embrace what is universal.

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