Pixel Slide: Jesse Brossa's Mind Unwound

This is where I get along. Enjoy le rants, los picturas, y los ideas.

April 09, 2008

Clark Miller's Show @ The Salon - "Work"

These are from Clark Miller's show last month @ The Salon in Costa Mesa. I think if I had some coffee and it wasn't late I'd be more apt to writing something right now, but forgive me, I'd rather get the pix up and chat later. By all means, leave a comment or two at the bottom and let Clark know what you think of the work; he's definitely been at it.

Also, I think it bears noting that I take pictures of people and places; this is not a straight take on Clark's work as much as it is his work in the actual context of the Salon. This is a show with people standing in front of paintings. How do people look in front of paintings? What is the interplay between the painting that has been elevated - physically to the wall and metaphorically by calling it "art" - and the people who surround it? How do these paintings change their surroundings? I only ask these questions because I take photos as a record of time and place and I like to paint; these things are on my mind.

I think we can assume that:

1. All paintings are intended to be viewed.
2. Every viewing of a painting creates an intellectual exchange between viewer and subject.
3. Content is immutable. There can be nothing more in a painting than what is on the surface.
4. Meaning can change as the context in which the painting is presented is altered.
5. Value is indeterminable and is based on personal interpretation of content and meaning.
6. Narrative can change value & meaning, but not context or content.

So.

What is in Clark's paintings?

What is the context in which they are presented?

Is there a narrative - spoken, written or other - that affects the paintings?

The only question that I will answer here is that relating to the content of the paintings; the rest is in constant flux and you can answer on your own.

Clark makes paintings with people in them. With few exceptions, the subjects are alone and are looking "off-camera", which is to say they are unaware of the viewer's presence. I think it is safe to say the subjects are pondering questions that they themselves are unaware of the answer. These aren't angst-ridden thoughts, but rather brief moments that seem to have stopped the subjects in whatever it was they were doing; something has crossed their mind and they have been captivated by an idea that has made their physicality a momentary afterthought. That said, I would say that they are both aware of themselves as mortals while seeing something far greater at the periphery of their vision.

As viewers, Clark has given us the privilege of watching these subjects in these rare moments. He has carefully edited out any references to time or place, which allows us to focus on the ponderous idea. I like that. I think Clark makes paintings about ideas, not people.

Guess I didn't need that coffee after all.


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