Impermanence is a necessity of all that lives.
I beg my god to speak and tear me apart.
BIG HAND BLUES- Figurative Transformations from the Kouros
Hpu artist statement-drafts and whatnot
Archaic greek youths, replace greek with american
Kouros-kouroi-standing figures with vague smiles, formulaic youths, strong like soldiers, the one with the calf draped over the shoulder is significant, the sacrifical lamb, Abraham and Isaac, fathers and sons (personal experience here-not to make too much of it, it isnt that experience, but this fascination with these greek statues that is the real starting point, the connecting elements are these other things-the portraits of boys, the neighbor kid who angers me with his smiling innocent cruelties, the Iraq war, always a backdrop)
Whipping boys american boys someone to blame
Responsibility and ruin,
Adolescence lust kiddie pools mynah birds
Rose bushes and burrows-burroughs
An exit point is to be desired, or at least a goal-symbolically expressed by Antarctica, a desire for transendence-unattainable and undesired by the principal players (they want to remain PLAYERS)
There is something savage and simple that I want to express with these paintings, something closer to the graphite crayon drawings ive been doing
Divided natures- beginning with the kouros figures, taking something that is whole and wanting to split it, not able to see it as a totality but rather a sum of parts-divided natures, email from Jennifer ghosts from the past
shadows and trails
DARK CURRENTS IN THE HEART
Klees lollipop no hungry ghosts allowed
Men and their machines
Dress Rehearsal for the human condition- intersections of figure landscape form of itself for vs. for itself boys vs. girls
Sex and desire is the voice of the blind eye that sees in the fat, creamy seas of self, self abandoned, self destroyed, repeat
Finger on lips silence an unexpected blessing
Trouble, early dawn, trouble in the world, troubled by the world, not trying to be the artist hoisting the misery of the world on his shoulders, but feeling misery nonetheless, how do you reconcile that honestly? And with clarity, no less?
Green chair, passage
(kouros-not set on by an idea, but set off)
Whenever I start a new series of work I am often attracted to myths. Pretty much all of my work is tied directly to my life, that I need something outside to set the stone down on the path, but usually it is no more than that, one stone, my attraction to myths is not unlike a moths attraction to light, I have no idea what im being drawn or why, I just know its big and bright and that it demands my attention. With this series im not making any overt statements about greek kouroi, I just think they are incredibly mysterious and incredibly powerful, all the more so for their being archaic or useless, if you prefer. These figures stand at attention with fists pressed against thighs, and I thought I could use that, as a form
the figure is so damned complicated, but these forms exist in a crude frontal space which I find very appealing. The germ for this work was the acts of a bully, one of my sons friends, but out of my observations and thoughts about this boys behavior, these kouroi could state my thoughts better. Homer referred to them as soldiers, and I suppose that is fitting since I live surrounded by soldiers and their toys, and their children. What do we think about the children of soldiers? its the fists and the smile that get me, that damned mona lisa smile that keeps its own secrets and its own counsel just like every person you ever encounter, vessels of secrets.
In painting for me its the human element, skin eyes mouth and teeth hands breasts feet, smeared on the panel as if a flesh ghost passed through and left sticky traces of itself.
Sol lewitt writes great statements, his sentences and paragraphs on conceptual art is so slick and agile its like watching an acrobat at work. My work is less so, I am a plodder, I am clumsy, whereas lewitt is like bach I am like grunge. There is a wet sticky ball inside me and everything I touch gets some of that sticky stuff on it. So the starting point for this work the kouros, really means very little besides that it was a beginning, since the sticky mess that is my life has already gotten all over those cool tan and grey figures of quiet antiquity
I admire sol lewitts work greatly, and I imagine that there was something of the kouros in him and his work. That being said, I am often attracted to mysterious things because of what is missing and unsaid, and these images seem to provide great chunks of mystery that I can pour my sticky life gunk into. They represent soldiers, tools for the ancient greek aristocracy, but im not really painting soldiers, but a lot of them are boys, and bullies, and lovers
The scenario is an intellectual bluff, simply a starting point to allow things to grow an dhappen, the trick is too let them grow in a meaningful way,
Heard the intellectual thing in an interview with the quay brothers, though what a great thing it was to say about what an artist does, I suppose it was the smile that got me when I started working from these images, the fluidity of that smile and the stiff pose of the figures, but where they went after that was not my intention. They wanted to split, right away, the heads, the figures, they wanted to be about two of something and not one of something, and I suppose that dualities are there, but also the trouble with being one of something. Fomrally they are interesting because they depict the figure as one form, but I found the hands to be troubling since they are pressed to the sides at an awkward angle. That was another entry point for me. I dont want to write that they represent something or that they present something, but rather that I had this image and I pushed off from there. The titles lend themselves to some kind of broader construct, birds kings queens castaways, floating arcs, balloons. The balloons and the moon are both important images for me with these paintings because they talk about the lightness of being, but anchored, anchored through the mouth anchored to the earth with desires, awareness presence
Using the kouros as a Node of existence
The magician awoke with a plan, to create something. He required some blood, not the real kind but the plastic kind. The creation needed to split, it was the kouros, but pouring from the magicians head he changed, became a boy, a man, a monster being with large hands and odd legs and strange heads. Sometimes he smiled and the world swooned, wrapped in the erotic embrace of his lips, sometimes he screamed and no one listened, because the world is like that. The kouros split, his split was painful and necessary and just as useless as he was, he needed to take the straight and narrow path but his legs were always too long or too short and his hands were always too big, because his original being was too perfect, locked as it was in the magicians brain. So he split, a child of his own making, split to grow big hands and wide eyes. He found himself with strange companions, double heads ballons that told the time by pulling on their strings silent morse code oof their thoughts against ashy white skies, Lucifer bombs and sewage machines, pipe children and cocks on wheels turning uselessly in day old mud. Kouros said,
I am a node of existence.
But it was a silly thing to say because no one listened because he just was same as everyone else same as everyone of the other magicians children and so he had the blues, because he wasnt one even though he was shaped that way. To sing his blues found it necessary to scream, but his songs didnt hurt the air, they colored it.
Kouros needed to save something, to repay the blood that was lost making him, no one should have to pay for the life they are given, he thought, but here he was his existence riddled by blood debt. The pipe children toiling in the mud murmured in agreement, the cocks on wheels gnashed their muddy teeth. So kouros led a ram up the hill, took it in his arms, the place was clear and empty and dark, and there was nothing to do but to kill it and eat it. In consuming the lamb he grew horns, became something different. The land would no longer hold his feet, but he could not fly. The conqueror had to move on.
THE MAGICIAN (transformation)
THE MAD KING
Death learned of this act of sacrifice, and marked kouros time on his old calender, but no one could see death, not even death could see death and this made him very free.
Kouros traveled far looking for wings, for something to take him out. No on was giving directions but he talked to the helios, which were like helicopters, but more like bug monsters.
His hands are heavy. His arms are skinny. There was a keyhole to Antarctica. Sometimes there was a girl.
Before I started this series I had been working on an ongoing series of protraits of boys, small in format, and rather odd and stark in quality. The germ for that series had been my sons experience with a bully and me thinking about boyhood and violence. When I was selected to have an exhibition here, I was looking for something that I could use as a transition between those portraits and my interests in eploring the figure. I have been fixated on frontal displays for a while and the kouros seemed like a wonderful way to continue both those interests. The kouros was an
In an interview the filmmakers the Quay brothers describe the scenarios for their films as intellectual bluffs. I think this is as apt a statement as any describing what an artist statement does and what an artists intentions are in relation to the actual work. This is a process that in the best of circumstances should be allowed to grow and develop under its own energy. That being said the bluff for this series of works is the Kouros, which sounds simple and started off simply enough. The series actually begin with an experience my son had with a bully, and the work that grew out of that was an a series of portraits of young boys. When I was selected to have an exhibition at HPU, I was looking for something that I could use as a transition between those portraits and my interests in exploring the figure. I have been fixated on frontal displays for a while and the Kouros seemed like a wonderful way to continue both those interests. I have been long fascinated with these figures from antiquity. Basically the Kouros depicts a standing male youth with an enigmatic smile. The figures are depicted rigidly, as one form, arms pressed close to the sides, but with one leg striding forward. Their relationship to Egyptian sculpture is very evident, but there is a softness and buoyancy that lies in stark contrast to their formal rigidity. As an image they are very arresting to me, iconic and mysterious, but it was the standing male youth as a type that I referenced for every single one of these works.
When I started working with these images the thing that immediately struck me was that I couldnt present the form as a singularity, they wanted to split right away, from the hands to the heads and the situations that began to present themselves were very strange. Figures stranded in stark landscapes, strident atmospheres, desires and imaginary companions. The depiction of the hands in these sculptures I found odd, since they seem to be little more than footnotes, unimportant compared to the rest of the figure. They stick out from the sides as little triangles. These awkwardly placed hands were a very important entry point for me since the definition of adolescence embodies both potency and awkwardness.