Sunday, June 27, 2010

Prophet or Profit?

We have realized recently that we had made a piece in 2006 bemoaning the oil industry and its penchant for deception, lies and basic tactics that make it the most criminal of enterprises on many levels. The piece is titled "RIG", and depicts vintage metal Monopoly cars circling around what appears to be a mammoth aquamarine behind which lies a pastoral silhouette of a typical oil rig.
The title refers to both the equipment that extracts the crude from the ground and how the system in place to deliver said oil is designed to make us junkies for the stuff. The entire industry, from large, greedy corporations to lobbying groups trying to convince us that it is clean, safe and necessary for our future. Everything is rigged in their favor. That was until April, when they could no longer hide the ugly truth with slight of hand.The cat was out of the bag. The pelicans were drenched in product.
"RIG" refers to this with its outsized fake gem (cast epoxy resin made to look like a precious stone) and its endless ring of cars (from a game) circling both this faux stone and the oil rig, creating a very sinister Currier & Ives-esque narrative. Even the necklace closure is a gas pump nozzle, the equivalent of a gasoline hypodermic.
Some may look at this piece as somewhat prophetic. Many say that artists foretell the future through what they create. Perhaps, but in the case of "RIG", we are merely practitioners of common sense, not seers or prophets. We are angered by what we see to be as a plain truth and "RIG" was our way to express our grievance. We are responsible humans who are both saddened and sickened by the recent events that only further point out that the system is broken and that change to the modus operandi is needed.
A special thanks to Joan for the "nudge" and for her support.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Magnum Opus

We (humans) are always asking "what was your favorite...?", at the movies, the museum, talking about books and music. People are obsessed about finding out from each other what their favorite song is or their favorite food, painting, actor, artist. After a recent trip to a museum, the normal banter took place; "What was your favorite piece that you saw?". It created a whole new set of questions. How does one choose a "favorite?" What is the criteria? Can one be objective? Or is it a whim? "Today I liked the Picasso." "I thought the VanderWeyden was magnificent."
It raises the question for us as artists that we are constantly trying to create a "great" piece. They can't all be great. Yet it is the striving for something special, a hint of the eternal or spiritual or that sublime something that seems the quest of makers. Why does one aspire to greatness or care to be compared amongst the gigantic looming shadow of History? Certainly ego enters into the picture. But that can not be the only answer. It is far too simple.
On a daily basis, we don't think of this. We make and sometimes the outcome is good, sometimes not. But in the soup of everyday making, we are incapable of deeming something indelible. It is with the passage of time, the opinion of the few, and the endurance of the work that are the judges of what becomes "important." After all, even the educated are subjective.
So, we just keep making. Always striving to create something better than the last one. It is the struggle and the striving for betterment that makes us human. The pursuit, subconsciously, of the Magnum Opus, the defining work. We certainly won't know if or when we have made that piece, but we might get a glimpse when we hear "Oh, that one is my favorite".