Saturday, July 13, 2013

the soothsayer

Some thoughts on The Soothsayer, opening at Box 13 tonight in Houston, Texas:

A question that I have mulled over the past two weeks is "Who is The Soothsayer?"  I know that it is not me, or at least not me alone.  I don't see myself as a Diviner; I think of myself as someone invested in folk traditions and their historical and cultural reasons for existence.  

Art, as it has been in the past, is mostly not a folk tradition; it is a tradition of production for a religion or the Wealthy.  Folk traditions do make their way into museums and galleries via antiquities, objects, and crafts, but almost everything I see in Museums is aimed at things that will stand the test of time, with some care and conservation.  In my own experience this is wholly unrealistic.  Permanence is a prideful misconception.   Things fall apart.  This overlaps with spiritual thinking and teaching of impermanence.  

I want the Soothsayer to illicit a nuanced view of divination and how we, as people, access a potential structure of being.  I do not believe in the divine as a truth, or a Truth.  I do think that the divine has more to do with states of being--from emotions to other things that we don't normally comprehend as "real".  This work is not a road map to finding answers about experience but rather some vague hints at clues written on a wet bar napkin, text bleeding and reforming into new words with different meanings.  There is no dogma, unless it is the multifaceted nature of most parts of our experience.  

I think manipulating a space is new and profound.  Before things may have been adornment; now, I feel, I have been given access to a broader approach to perception and how our bodies relate to a perceptual image.  

I do not think of anything in the exhibition (or in my studio) as junk or debris.  All things are a testament to working and thinking in the studio or on the farm.  Part of the arranging is elevating materials to a point where they reflect and represent this process of living.  

[I am hoping to put together a small exhibition catalogue for The Soothsayer in the coming weeks; it will be available for free here and on my website.  Check back soon for more on this exhibition and the catalogue]

installation view | The Soothsayer | Box 13 Art Space | July 13, 2013