Sunday, October 6, 2013

Written on the Wind

David Jarred's“Two Gaseous Entities Exchanging Atoms Forever” and
“Our Membranes Envelop Each Other Eternally to Protect Our Precious Gasses”
The (F)art Show Installed.

Watching the "(F)art Show" film, "Whisper," by Golden Brown.  Below: 
Philip Louis Valois’s “Recettes de Cul Puant” (both cover and a couple pages from the book);  The official "(F)art Show" brochure; and the official "(F)art Show" t-shirt. 

"Satire is a lesson; parody is a game."  Vladimir Nabokov

I love the paintings David Jarred did for "The (F)art Show," the exhibit at Thunder-Sky that's ending its run this Saturday with a bash starting at 7 pm.  I loved the whole stupid show actually.  And when I use the word "stupid," I mean business.  I pursue stupidity in the arts, especially the visual arts.  "Stupid," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, means:  "dazed and unable to think clearly."  I want art to dazzle me and to allow me to think without clarity, to be pushed toward some other realm of thought that's outside of rationality, outside of convention, and outside of whatever is thought to be "wonderful."  "The (F)art Show's" stupidity is of course very intentional, and it gets to work by treating its subject matter with the utmost professionalism and meticulousness.  Both David and Kenton Brett (whose work in the show I blogged about in a post a couple days ago), partners in Golden Brown Enterprises, a dynamic-duo/art-collective that sponsors art-related activities across the city, have taken the idea of a show about farts and turned it into a tour de force, but always keeping their eye on the prize:  a good time.

But back to David's paintings, pictured above.  Such strange careful attention to detail, a Dreamsicle distortion of what biology is, with  a Philip Guston flair for cartoon simplicity.  The titles weight these little balloons back down to earth, but also are jokes on themselves, teetering toward a dismissal of meaning while trying to make meaning happen in a way that isn't meaningful.  Which is basically the whole thing with the show.  A joke that is a joke but not a joke unless you get past the fart thing, and see it as a celebration of what art can do once it gets past its own stodgy nature. 

Philip Louis Valois does the same thing with his booklet, pictured above as well.  In a sort of  Proustian flourish, Philip records what he eats and what the resultant gas smells like.  It offers us a homemade pastiche of church cookbooks merged with the mean-spirited wit of Mad Magazine.  Crafted with tender loving care, the joke here is about how delightful the little drawings are and how beautifully stupid the whole exercise is.  Emily Brandehoff''s simply sweet little painted ditties are comprised of cartoon animals letting it rip.  Jen Edward's stained-glass-over-x-rays gives us a Gothic blend of technology and religion, all in the service of the meaning of you know what.  Mark Betcher's series of paintings has an R. Crumb delirium mixed with a Pee-Wee Herman wanderlust.  Joey Versoza's video install looping fart-mockery with melting glaciers has a great and stupid density:  it's a joke but also a sermon on the mount.  Jared Dryer's pop art logo says it all with a heavy-handed brilliance:

I quote Nabokov (a genius who sometimes pursued scatological insights in his works) up-top because "(F)art" truly is a prime example of his thesis:  satire preaches; parody plays.  "(F)art" does not satirize; it is a game of hide and seek, a sort of joyous little romp where everybody is wondering who is "it"?  Satire contracts.  Parody expands, laughs, jeers, and yes most definitely farts.

So thanks to David and to Kenton, and to all the artists whose works made me feel dazed and confused.  Nothing better than that.

(All the other artists I haven't mentioned but whose works deserve seeing:  Philip LaVelle, Carolyn Watkins, Philip Spangler and Samantha Boch, Jonathan Hancock, Bekka Sage, Anh Tran, Emily Caito, Joel Armor, Robert McFate, Antonio Adams, and CT King.)