A piece from 1998-2001 has been added to the sculpture section of my site. I’ve been conscious of the fact that many people who look at my work do so through the Internet. I’ve learned how to document the work and I believe I’ve done a decent job. But obviously, looking at the work through screens with their limitations curtails the appreciation. Certain pieces will appear better than others as some aspects are easier to perceive than others on screen. It is completely impossible to convey the significance of certain others. But having said that, it is absolutely mind-blowing that we do more or less recognize visual languages across the globe while many of us don’t even speak the same language. Our governments might even consider your governments “enemies”, building nuclear weapons, badmouthing peoples based on their nationalities and so on. But we have the same language to build our friendship.
#32, enamel, oil, plaster, tar and wax, 38″ x 36″ x 1.75″, 1998-2001
In a world where obvious fraudsters play God, hellbent on domesticating the people in their invisible, yet potent, imperial cage of corporatism, colonialism and militarism, people suffer from various forms of mental deformities, engaging in psychotic defenses acting as unconscious as well as conscious gatekeepers of the very oppressors.
How then, could we raise and mobilize our awareness against this destructive trajectory of neo-feudal, neo-caste, neo-colonial system of capitalist hierarchy? And for artists, how do we share the essence of what it is to be humans when our lives in the cage blind our true potentials and our true missions to be humans?
John Steppling’s latest blog post focuses on how the authoritarian hierarchy imposes us various feelings of guilt, which in turn, manifests in alienation, depression, anger and ultimately a form of complacency within the framework. The elaborate mechanism of the domination creates an extraordinary circumstance for artists. How do we even do what we do?
John suggests that artists take a deep breath and reflect, for such a realization can be a catalyst in prompting a true growth as artists of our time.
Here is the 7th Piezography print. I’ve struggled quite a bit but I am very happy with how it turned out. The whole struggle with the print project is to express subtlety, gentleness, warmth, tangible mass of black emerging from actual ink hitting the paper as opposed to how we perceive the image on screen. Doing so with a digital software is certainly a challenge that requires more time and trials and errors. It has been very rewarding and educational, and very much humbling as well.
I’m always intrigued by Kate Clark‘s human animal sculptures. And Heidi Hahn is one of my favorite painters. I like how her paintings can be very emotional, yet unmistakably absurd and odd, and all the elements are expressed with a very solid formal visual quality. I am happy to be in the same show with them. My work sits next to Sam Messer’s striking piece titled “how beautiful is the tiger who killed me”.
Well, I can keep talking about other wonderful artists in the show…
Left: Kate Clark, Charmed, 2015, varied materials, 72 x 40x 23 inches
Center: Heidi Hahn, The Body is Not Essential XII, 2016, oil on canvas, 32 x 36 inches
Right: Hiroyuki Hamada, #76, 2011-13, painted resin, 46 x 37 x 31 inches
Left: Hiroyuki Hamada, #76, 2011-13, painted resin, 46 x 37 x 31 inches
Right: Sam Messer, how beautiful is the tiger who killed me, 2017, oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches
You will probably recognize some of the artists in the show.#LisaYuskavage#EllenAltfest#RichardBaker#BaileyBobBailey#PaulBowen#MattBollinger#AmyBrener#EllenDriscoll#KateClark#EllenGallagher#HeidiHahn#HiroyukiHamada#SharonHorvath#SamMesser#ElliottHundley#SarahOppenheimer#JenniferPacker#JaniceRedman#JackPierson#JacolbySatterwhite#KahnandSelesnick#DuaneSlick#SableElyseSmith#JamesEverettStanley#TabithaVevers#BertYarboroughYou can see more images here:The show is up till May 20th at Mills Gallery at Boston Center for the Arts.
I made this piece around the year 2000. Things were much simpler for me back then. The only thing that guided me was the momentum of my studio practice–like an explorer, I searched, was mesmerized and was content with newly found visual-scapes. The world–the human world–seemed like an extension of the great oceans and lands with its harmony and order. If I did have to justify my motive, perhaps I felt responsible for the path that saved my life from self-destructive anger and sadness. I didn’t feel the responsibilities arising from being a parent, a grown-up, an artist and a human back then. But the pain of life that squeezed my young self never really went away.
What it is to live? When one decides to be a constructive force for our species, for our fellow creatures and for the environment, what can artists do? When our efforts are harvested to decorate power and authority, and when our efforts are used as currency to protect the hierarchy of money and violence, how do we assert our roles to be human and to show what it is to be human?
Getting back to the piece, shortly after it was made, I gave it to my wife in exchange for her grandmother’s ring, which she loved. In turn, I gave the ring to her as a wedding ring. The piece has been put away for a while, but my wife wanted to see it next to one of my new pieces, so here they are.
#83, 33 x 24 x 3 inches, found object and resin, 2014-18
#30, 18″ diameter x 8″, enamel, plaster, resin, tar and wax, 2000