148, Earth vs. Space

148, 2019-08, Earth vs. Spaceoil on linen, 60 x 90″ (148 x 228cm) (detail, 1)

There is little point in making art of something which the viewer already fully accepts.

Another experimental variation on spoiling a gift with inscrutability and cognitive dissonance: the ideal will be to place the viewer in a position whereby they are consumed with attempting to explain why they can’t reasonably have a certain kind of work of art in their living room, instead, having the image always with them in their mind, along with the viewer’s own system of difficult or failed reconciliations. My hope is to elicit reactions which do not include whether one likes or dislikes something; imagine if one couldn’t decide one way or another, and also were not indifferent: in order to qualify and understand the work one would only be able to first qualify and understand the self.

It could be unethical to determinedly do art that could not sell or bring honor, yet it would be unethical also to not do art at all if it means wasting one’s gifts, only to put one’s energy into endeavors of lesser leverage and efficiency. To not do the work one wants to do is to be inauthentic as a person, living a lie; to only serve personal authenticity is to undermine one’s integrity, and become a feckless, unproductive burden.

Every human expression is an ethical expression. Instead of making a work of art, perhaps one’s time might be better spent tutoring a refugee child, feeding the poor, or picking up litter? And the sort of art matters as well, some works being more edifying than others, while some is actively corruptive; some is cathartically corruptive and transformative, in the sense that in the transformation of making a better Self, one must first sacrifice some rawer material and “beat the sword into plowshare”.

Some blessed people are integratively authentic, and don’t leave a wash of contradiction in their wake, so they shall most assuredly inherit the earth. But who wants the earth? Ask for the moon and all the heavens, and may it be just out of reach.