Saturday, February 7, 2009

This is Victoria Reynolds work. I love it, it's so beautiful and visceral without being gross... or at least I don't find it gross, (these things are subjective). I love that the frame is so integrated into the piece, some of her other work has more basic framing and those don't sing as well as they do when the frame itself becomes the stuff of cartilage and bone. I love that it is just a big unapologetic pile of meat. love love love. Life, death, self, nourishment, sanguine, goodness.

Let's talk about gross... I'm really not into it. Not in art. I think shock value is sort of what losers resort to, if I may put it so bluntly. I believe this is because it's the easiest way to get a reaction. Art is supposed to cause feeling, Art doesn't survive unless it gets noticed,  but what a sad state, for an artist to have to resort to horror in order to grab at you. Think about it. Try and make someone feel love, feel desire, feel compassion, make them feel these emotions by putting them in front of a painting. Well, good luck to you. It is almost impossible. These emotions are guarded, we're all so very suspicious of a piece of Art that wants to make us happy. However, in any situation, the fastest reaction, emotion, feeling you can evoke from someone, fully, honestly and completely is, disgust. Wipe one of your boogers on your sister and you're done. Message received and achieved. Reaction full, reaction bodily. So. Easy.

Yes, yes, horror and the grotesque have their rightful and respectable place in art. These things do need addressing, from booger wiping, to genocide. They are worthwhile, some in their own right, some importantly so... but the shock is so over used. Since it is so easy to shock why can't we have a slow and thoughtful reveal? If you want to deal in the disgusting, the vile, the violence and the cruel give it the respect it is due, give it beauty, give it bravado. Perhaps in a light example, the way Ms. Reynolds gives her dead animal parts provocativeness... Sexy dead animal parts. That nuance alone makes me think about it much more than if I were, in fact, presented with a pile of slaughtered elk. Another more heavy handed example might be Andres Serrano's Piss Christ which is a beautiful photograph! And that is one of the reasons it works so very well at delivering its sucker punch message. 

What I am trying to express is best described in the cliche, the dark looks the deepest against the dawn kids. If you're going to make big angry artwork about awful/gross/violent/sanguinary topics, I demand that you give me my damn spoonful of sugar to go along with it.


thatwriterguy said...

Ok, this makes me think of that texture topic we mentioned last night at Transcend. Have you seen the works in person?

k.mart said...

Yes, Victoria Reynolds is incredible!