‘IF YOU DON’T CARE, THEN WHY THINK ABOUT IT?’
RAYGUN gallery, August, 2013
American art critic Dave Hickey stated beauty is not a thing but ‘the agency that caused visual pleasure in the beholder’,1 like a vehicle for / of dissemination. In a world saturated with images or possibilities of visual connections, maybe beauty isn’t what we see but what it allows us to consider. Can something then be beautiful and critical at the same time or must it lose its beauty so that we are able to see into it, through it and beyond it? One must think about chaos and how its beauty in all its deconstructed glory, as we are opened up to the many shards that create a new whole. Sports coaches speak of the beauty of winning in a Roman amphitheatre of bodies chasing geometries inside various geometries governed by rules. That it isn’t in that final second on the clock that elapses (as a shard of time) that gives us (the fans, the spectator, the viewer, the players and the coach) a feeling of accomplishment that comes out of physical repetition for emotional gain. But rather beauty is in the first moment after the fact, when we realise something to be something other than what we thought it to be.
The exhibition ‘If You Don’t Care, Then Why Think About It?’ looks at the way in which visual matter is collapsed in an ongoing array of varied constructions, deconstructions and reconstructions within our immediate and expanded worlds. The various objects and their individual compositions become shards of information, much like You Tube when in the act of viewing one thing, you are confronted with abstract links that push your attention out in an unravelling of search engines and discovery through a process of focus and interruption. The works can be read in two ways: 1 as abstract compositions that sit within a Modernist idiom and 2: as a metaphor for how our individual ways of seeing have become fragmented memories about things we think we see and what we actually know. This can be seen in the overlapping of paintings on wall paintings, creating counter compositions of planes of colour attempting to compete with each other yet still staying engaged with their own discourse. The stitched banner, comprising of various found materials becomes a contemporary pirate flag of no fixed address. Its affiliation is situated within both the folk art of handmade geometric patterned blankets of 18th century America and 20th century geometric abstraction, where low art, meets high art meets no art. The painted porcelain figurine with its random splashes of colour, like graffiti on a public monument, placed on a wooden palette ready for transport, but seemingly has no place to go. Celebration and degradation (as possession) combined in the randomness of pigment and marks upon the mass manufactured skin of the object play out in the connection it has to the space and uniformity of the geometric
1 Hickey, Dave, Enter the Dragon: The Vernacular of Beauty, ‘The Invisible Dragon: Four Essays on Beauty’, Pub: Los Angeles: Art Issues Press, 1993, p. 11