Untitled Enthymeme by Elliott Wall, July 2—August 23 at Chaos Gallery, Portland, OR, US
“In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and are lost.”—Tagore
88, 2009-09, Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, oil on panel, 58 x 90″ (148 x 228cm)
147, 2018-08, Begjær… og Seterjentene (Lust), oil on linen, 82 x 90″ (208 x 228cm)
148, 2019-08, Earth vs. Space, oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (152 x 228cm)
149, 2018-12, There is one story and one story only., oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (152 x 228cm)
152, 2020-01, OOBE (Le Rêve— Temple of Artemis, Song of the Sleeping Forest, Symbol of Life, Love, and Aesthetics), oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (152 x 228cm)
153, 2020-03, SACRIFICIVM (Potaliya Sutta), oil on linen, 60 x 90″ (152 x 228cm)
154, 2020-05, L’Apocalypse des Animaux, oil on linen, 82 x 90″ (208 x 228cm)
155, 2020-06, Black Hula (Satellite Serenade/Brightness Hiding), oil on linen, 82 x 90″ (208 x 228cm)
Hi, My name is Elliott. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mainly in Memphis and throughout Florida, and currently live in Portland, Oregon. I’m a classic vata-pitta, 4w3, wood tiger virgo/sagittarius/gemini INFP, I made a 466 on the MAT exam, I speak Russian badly, and my blood type is A+ (6 gallon donor)— if any of that helps paint a picture. As a radical individualist, I share all this as a sort of joke at the expense of the idea that people should ever be put into categories. The only social media I have anything to do with are Dialectic, Empathy, and Respect.
I feel it’s a bad idea to use thumbnails to show art, because I think it serves only to “inoculate” a viewer to the work, or makes easier for them to assume they should reject it, mindlessly scrolling past. Many of the works here are big oil paintings of considerable time and effort, with life-size figures, and they should be seen in person, not on a small screen scrolled past in a tenth of a second. And since what’s on a screen is in effect already a thumbnail, we should in general be interested to declare war on frivolous screen time, since I fear one day we will all suddenly awake in horror, only to realize our life is now at an end, and we had consumed it completely without realizing that the entire time we had been doing nothing more than gazing into a snowglobe.
The weblog is my personal journal of achievement or interests and is a living document, so I may from time to time change or delete the content here. You will be relieved to know that I don’t expect anyone to actually read any of this.
We live in a wish-fulfillment society and are all drowning in beauty, yet in general people are possibly more demoralized than ever. Beauty and pleasure, at least as we now understand them, are clearly not ultimately satisfying. Art, therefore, must be edifying. If it isn’t then it is only just attending to the current sensibilities of the audience, and is therefore proportionally only just craft. The criteria for success with craft is well understood (paint pictures of Greeks standing around in places, in the style of Bouguereau; or paint wan looking people in rooms, like Sargent; or paint sweaty or wet people photo-realistically, for example). Contrariwise, there seems little point in making art of something which the viewer already fully accepts, and the more artistic something is the more inscrutable it becomes. Beauty, like craft, is being studied scientifically, and will also soon be well understood, and beautiful things are at all times being created almost totally programmatically through technique alone, which is to say, as a craft. We’re extremely susceptible to beautiful collisions of sounds (e.g., fancy words or “gorgeous” music), or beautiful forms of any kind, but it begins to feel vacuous and predictable, as just another pretty face or pretty painting. Then some artists try to ugly things up to relieve the boredom; and surrealism depends on the viewer having a rather normal, sane view of reality, and it seems like low-hanging fruit to just merely seek to scandalize normal, sane people. For now I’ve settled on making paintings that are pretty plain, beautiful or crafty enough, and on a painter’s technique that is good enough for our purposes, preferring to work on establishing instead a technique of thinking and technique of living life. The vehicle being, to achieve mimesis with portraits of ideas. This is all only a personal prescription however.