"Going Native" is a three-person show including Max Kauffman, Larissa Grant and myself that opened last weekend at Campfire Gallery in San Francisco's Mission district.
Thank you to everyone who made it to the opening! I was very disappointed I couldn't be there in person as I would have loved seeing your faces and sharing my latest 14-piece series with ya'll. This was simply a moment where I needed to make the easy choice of family over career. Our family reunion in Kentucky only happens once every 5-7 years for us and this one had some extra significance. Thank you Max Kauffman for finally getting the band together, Larissa Grant for stepping in, and Craig and Rachel at Campfire for being such gracious and thorough hosts. Also thanks to Fecal Face, Hi Fructose, Be-Street Paris and more for featuring the new work and show.
A Momentary Quietus
We often find ourselves toeing the line between optimism and negativity in our lives interpreting events as either one way or the other. The smallest moment has the potential to lead us into fits of elation, to make us feel whole, worthy and possibly even bring on a sense of joy. Alternatively, we can also be tipped down the chasm into downward spirals of depression, anger, or anxiety. With this body of work I’m focusing on our extreme perspectives of white or black, positive or negative, tranquil or tense, perseverance or acceptance, organic or rigid, and so on. These magnetic pulls tug on us as we navigate through our daily lives. They alter the way we interpret ourselves, our relationships, our past, our future, etcetera.
More selfishly the work is my way of processing these daunting vantage points that consume our thoughts of everything from banal daily events to significant life-altering decisions. I know I can work myself up pretty damn good over-analyzing everything to the point of exhaustion and I imagine some of you can relate. “Analysis paralysis” is a buzz phrase that strikes a deep chord. Especially in this age of media-engulfed environments and technological appendages, sometimes it is difficult to filter the noise and focus on the self. We are all Atlases holding up our varying loads of cerebral baggage and just fighting to make it through the day. For me, this is where art making helps to quiet the mind. Though not by any means a stress-free practice, it does eventually help to process these overwhelming frantic thoughts of the day’s issues and the “what ifs.” As the seemingly large problems start to lose their dominance and the focus begins to reappear I can finally lose myself in the simple act of painting, mark making and just react the surface, colors and water blending together, and compositional shifts.
Beyond some recurring themes like self progression, anxiety and internal conflict, I’ve intentionally kept these specific works fairly mysterious–even to myself. I’m experimenting with working in bursts of loose ideas that develop their own semi-subconscious overarching themes. I am I trying my best not to overanalyze (see above anxiety issues) before painting so as not to lose the excitement of the unknown future of the work. After all, you can overthink your way out of almost anything. The unknown, although scary and intimidating, is what makes it exciting and makes life worth living. Afterward (now) I can look back on the pieces and try to decipher what led me down this path and what was driving the symbology. I can now interpret general concepts like my ongoing interest in circular forms as a desire to represent the infinite, timeless, and cyclical themes. Elements consist of a cold outer shell with the ability to morph with change, but can only contain so much. Alternatively, the interwoven clusters of energy reference the “magic” that exists between matter and energy. It’s what connects us, what causes attraction or resistance and is a metaphor for the unexplainable phenomenons we’ve all lived, felt or dreamt. They’re perhaps part vascular, cerebral, intestinal, or other more peculiar vessels of life-fueling and universal energies. Like the sun, they keep our universe in order, but are unpredictable and have their occasional solar flares or irrational explosions throwing things off the balance.
And speaking of balance or attempting to go with the flow, let’s all try and accept that with all these opposites, we must have one side to understand and appreciate the other. We should be able to accept ups and downs as matter-of-fact and as life in constant flux. Although often difficult, there is much joy and satisfaction to be found in the struggle. So lets take a breath, sit back and enjoy the floating spaces in-between “moments.”
Perhaps I need to start telling myself that every morning. Or maybe I just need to drink less coffee.
Covalent Bond (detail)
Negative Sensory Cycle
Metamorphosis - Larissa Grant
Prone to Drift Away - Max Kauffman
The Neighborhood that Never Kept - Max Kauffman
Check out Campfire Gallery's site for all available work.