Thursday, October 22, 2009
PDX Art: "Purpose' by Richard Schemmerer
What if you don’t have one and do you really need one
Mostly I sit in book stores to research some subject like “ 12 ways to boost profit” or “Sculptural Pursuits” others just sit around me to more or less kill time , to refill their bodies with caffeine like a car on a gas station but that’s not what I want to write about.
I am staring at a Dolce & Cabbana advertising in one of the “Glossies”, which seem to be always in arms reach no matter where you go and it’s all about the body and the flesh and how one can drape fabric around it so it still keeps its sexual allure, still entices us to unwrap them with spying eyes by selling us a photo-shopped phantasm.
Nature built us to function on multiple levels and added a brain to it so we can reinvent it.
No, of course not even if we behave like as if, nature gave us a brain to use it for survival because on the
other hand it had created us really weak made us a creature with no built in self defense system.
We can’t even change skin color to blend into a terrain and every wild cat can outrun us in a minute.
So what did we do we staked out a strategy and started with passive aggressive behavior to be proactive and we invented traps and weapons and we documented the process on cave walls for future generations so they didn’t have to invent the wheel twice or slay their dragons with bare hands.
To make a billion year story quick time short and adobe reader friendly after a long evolutionary process we ended up in coffee shops not knowing what to do with ourselves.
Almost nothing what I see now all around me is in its original substance but manipulated in shape, color, structure , form, chemical elements you name it we did it to it.
We never seem to wonder if that was the purpose of why we have a brain while we basically altered the universe without having a specific purpose; for god’s sake we just bombed the Moon just because we can and maybe to proof that there is water in some form up there and if there is it now also has been altered.
But we did it mostly because the people at NASA are so bored that they don’t know what to do with themselves so they came up with this attention grabbing but not so ingenious idea to blow some more stuff up and see where it might fall.
David Hockney is painting landscapes that represent this kind of nature game where everything looks artificially touched up by human hand but stays in the familiar but uncomfortable zone.
When he painted his beloved Wiener dogs I was painfully made aware that they once roamed the wild now urbanized landscape as wolfs hunting in packs for food keeping the eco-system in balance.
Now these dogs wear little designer outfits to protect them from the rain and are served precooked stuff in cans.
Andy Warhol experimented with cans and stacked them up unopened in a pyramid like an object worth of worship. They were filled with reprocessed tomato soup but didn’t trigger the taste buds but confused our senses of perception and judgment.
At some point Art and artists had started to take things out of context; a context that had already been shaped by its artificial content but now assumed a new philosophical role maybe referencing to a pre-historic area like maybe the first Art paraphernalia like a bone, a bone that had belonged to an animal that was eaten, a bone that was boiled like in a soup and gnawed on then preserved polished used as a tool until it became an object of veneration that could be adorned bringing attention to its owner providing purpose to an alien life style and elevating the ordinary into the higher realm of admiration and worship; to become god like and finally to embody God.
Anish Kapoor cuts our world up into little mirrored hexagons to show us that we are made of unconceivable amounts of little pieces reflecting behavior back to the observer while Ghada Amer blurs the lines between solid and watery substance that dances on the surface of perception like droplets of blood on a hunted down deer.
Glenn Brown takes our brain and dips it in a bucket of creamy paint and uses it like a sponge to make his marks on a stretched out to its limits world canvas.
Ed Ruscha follows down a road stalking other people’s words to reflect meaning like the moon does the sun to a glowing effect
Anselm Kiefer turns the “White Cube” inside out to find values in the valleys of hidden pain and to lead us back out to a fertile crescent.
Baselitz just plays with himself like a little boy that just found out how much pleasure can be had by spinning one’s own wheels.
Mapplethorn shows us that there are good and bad seasons by taking us into the season of hell with frogs on a chalky white plate waiting to return to a bio laboratory or being dropped into a pot of hot boiling water.
Kevin Yates draws our attention to the greedy roots of forests while cut down or replanted having an orgy underneath our sidewalks and the basements of our houses.
Marylin Minter spits out images like pearls of vomit; frozen like sorbet at the moment of cold shock and exposure to light.
Franaine Siegel uses idyllic cocketry that claims that we came from mud and survive on mother’s milk.
Guillermo Kuitca frames it all in sharp lines which create an unnatural divide between black and white segments while Bill Voila brings back the body into the picture but as a fractured substance barely holding our attention with tiny dots of grayish matter.
Elizabeth Neel blurs all the previous lines letting it swirl and drip becoming the uncalculated but tamed on tight rectangle surfaces of limitation and William Cordova celebrates infinity with his labyrinths of infinity until we begin to realize that we have returned to the origin of our story and that this life is cyclic until we decide it is otherwise and begin the long slog again to find new purpose in old ways and new ways for old purposes or we just decide that we are as happy or unhappy with or without a purpose to guide us through life.