Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Critic Lights a Way


Critic Lights a Way, 2020, dry transfer lettering (Letraset etc.), rubber stamps, collage, shoe polish on paper, 100 X 48 ins.

Critic Lights a Way is part of a set of recent bodies of work done in black & white (including Flash Fudd Black Box, 2020 Abstract Black Paintings, and other sub-series) that began hmmm… somewhere around late 2016!

CLaW is itself part of a series of similarly scaled painting/collages, but is different in the fact that it incorporates no painting, and was conceived and executed specifically for Khang Nguyen’s “5 Facets of Humanity: Intra-human, Meta-human, Post-human, Supra-human, Trans-human

I read Khang’s explication of the philosophical underpinnings of his curatorial practice with great interest, percolated on them for a while, and was rewarded with an irresistible image of a figure, defined entirely by five dense and variegated fields of hermetic background data.

It is a self-portrait, consisting of a tracing of the outline of my body - lying flat on the floor - onto the paper. This was initially in the rough pose of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, with the intention of breaking the negative space into five sections corresponding to Khang’s facets. But I obviously revised it.

On the one hand, this plan was a little programmatic for my tastes -- improvisation keeps me awake -- and I had a second, irresistible hypnagogic vision, of the piece as it is now, more or less.

This version, while going all Mandelbrot on the facets, is also a direct homage to an oil painting by my wife, M.A. Peers, entitled Found Yuppie in Bear, 2008 (and by extension to Duchamp’s Etant Donnes and that dude on the inside of Led Zeppelin IV), which in turn was based on a radium-infused baby’s room serigraph of a bear cub tipoe-ing upstairs holding a candle.

In order to revise the figure along these lines, I deliberately repositioned and retraced my outline on my own (M.A. helped on the first version), producing an awkward and distorted figure, that nevertheless enacts an archetypal “Excelsior!”-type gesture.

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