Thursday, December 6, 2007

Plastic Peens

And the Stuffed Snakes Who Love 'Em.

Saturday night I hung out at Eyedrum for the opening of "TransATLantic 2007: sensibility, seduction, & self-reflection." AIRI brought together the three artists Bastien Desfriches Doria, Jehanne-Marie Gavarini and Naomi London as part of it's exchange program, showing Atlanta artists abroad and bringing in contemporary foreign artists never before shown in Atlanta.

Jehanne-Marie Gavarini says her work "examines contemporary compulsions and collective anxieties. It is fueled by... human ambivalence toward social pressures and cultural norms." The installations "address issues such a violence, seduction, power struggles, and gender construction."

Britt's expression really summed up the show for me.

Maybe if they had little motors inside and gyrated about, expanding/shrinking, whining and twittering. I dunno, something was missing. It was funny for the wrong reasons. And since when do people have "ambivalence toward social pressures and cultural norms"? That sounds great, yes please.

Meatballs anyone?

Maybe the grossest photograph I have ever seen.

Let's take a closer look. Gross. Something about raw meat and public toilets mixing that is really disturbing. Doesn't it make you think of the shattered soul of Voldemort climbing out of the toilet? No? Me either.

I think this was my favorite piece at Eyedrum. The greasy bloody smear of raw beef on the elevator wall...mmm.

The photographs are part of Bastien Desfriches Doria's "Mammal Thoughts" series. His statement on the series posed a very interesting question. "Each portrayed individual was encouraged to re-appropriate his/her own particular understanding of bodily representation... while being asked to present themselves to the camera as just a body." He went on to say that the series evolved "along the impossibility to both philosophically and photographically depict the human figure as a material being: neither the objective witness (the photographer) nor the subjective performer can successfully picture no-body, i.e. the experience of looking at a person's body as a living concrete entity separated from his/her identity."

Cooked meat.

It's a fascinating quest for a photographer and the model to attempt viewing and documenting a body as just a body, a bag of bones, organs, and meat. It would be impossible for the model to force themselves into an unawareness of their own body, mind and body are too completely integrated. I wonder what would happen if Doria instead photographed cadavers. Despite the body being truly lifeless and no longer aware of itself as a living/feeling thing, would Doria be able to approach be body as anything less than human and alive?

It makes me think of Sally Mann's series What Remains. It is clear when photographing the rotting corpses on a "cadaver farm", she was still treating them as humans. There is a reverence in the portrayal of the corpse alluding to Mann's almost spiritual approach to the bodies. This series really places the viewer in the position of how to define the body (in terms of it being "human" or "non-human").

Beef balls.

Where Doria really loses me with the series (which are all 30"x40" and beautifully printed) is his reasoning for the inclusion of raw meat: "...the raw meat laid out in each portrait symbolically manifests both the intention of the subject's thoughts and of the photographer's narrative, while brutally confronting the photographic representation's failure to grasp one of the most fundamental human evidence: being a thinking thing, unable to objectively reflect on its incarnated presence in the world."
Raw meat seems like a crass representation or substitute for the human mind's inability to disconnect itself from the body (which is a good thing because another name for that is "comatose"). I would have almost rather seen physical evidence of the body (such as piss 'n poop) marking the "intentions of the subject's thoughts" than raw meat that is obviously not deriving from a human, and has nothing to do with humans other than the fact that humans are capable of consuming it. (right off the porcelain bowl... gross)

"Red is the Colour of Celebration in China" Electrician tape on Geo-film

Delving further into impossible concepts and unsuccessful bids to define them visually is Canadian artist Naomi London. Her work is "interested in the subtlety, colour, and sensibility of happiness."

Ahem, Happiness is .... chirping birds hanging upside down.
My grandmother has the same birds on her window sill above the sink. Whenever I get a glass of water they all start chirping and vibrating at once in a sort of chaotic chorus. It makes me happy. Hang the birds upside down with their small chirps drowned out by the talking crowd? It makes me sad. But it's funny, again, for all the wrong reasons.

Birds are hanging above a big pile of the word "home" cut out of red felt and sprinkled with glitter.

Artist Allison Rentz had a great idea for the piece. She thought the cut felt words should have made a poem, maybe layer the sentences or attach them all so that it could have been pulled out and read in its entirety. That would have been cool.

Ever wondered how to visually define happiness? Glitter.

The back room had a showing of the two artist Steven Dixey and Jason Murphy.

It's hard to believe that just a month ago the earthen mound "Urban Tumulus" by Pandra Williams was residing in this space.

"The Song of the Sirens Will Lead Me to Ruin (like a moth to flame)"

It seemed like there were a lot of things at odds in the this show. The two artist's works were not cohesive in style or subject matter and in turn made each seem out of place. I don't think the two bodies of work were intended to be seen as one show but hung in the same room it was difficult not to search for a relationship.
And Dixey's incredibly detailed paintings were competing with the incredibly detailed gold-leaf on cold-cast composite brass and aluminum frames.

"Cain Cursed to Wander"

The frames really were amazing in detail, works of art in themselves. I would have rather seen them as bronze relief sculptures with the paintings separate (and larger).

I also met fellow artist and blogger, Mike Germon, writer of Thoughmarker. He was showing off his new t-shirt design for his blog. T-shirt? Is L.E. worthy enough to have a t-shirt too? Thoughtmarker wrote a nice summation of Atlanta art blogs recently and had some cool things to say about Local Ephemera. Check it out here.

"Drill Site #9"

Murphy's show "Drill Site" was really interesting and I was left wanting an artist's statement.

"Drill Site #6"

I especially liked this one. The collage style of these worked well. The pieces almost had movement to them. I kept looking for a little tab to pull to watch the boards dance to and fro.

"Drill Site #4"

"Drill Site #7"

This piece is really nice too. There is a lot of excellent work on his website. I really want the piece "Sun Stay Down". Who's got it?

There was also this fun show in the Small Gallery.




All shows up at Eyedrum until Dec. 31st 2007. Check 'em out.


mike said...

Well done as usual, but you failed to mention that the ThoughtMarker shirt there was designed by Steven Dixey whos show was opening that night. And I think every blog deserves a tee shirt.

Jonathan said...

Maybe if I make it a year... then I can spend the second year trying to pull a design together.