Thursday, March 6, 2008
One of my earliest memories of David Lauderdale, is of reading an interview where he said that he believed that most of the art being made today was/is a footnote to art history.
I disagreed with him then, and I disagree with him now. I believe that even if every curator, gallery owner and collector is wrong about the art that is considered relevant, the best and most valued will still rise to the top after time.
This evening, as well as last Saturday night, OPAQ Gallery hosted “Two Birds,” a show featuring the installation work of Mark Creegan, and Lauderdale’s paintings/assemblages. I attended the Saturday opening.
Creegan’s works were interesting and charming in a sweet, off-kilter way. His installations included a hairnet and bubble mountain, toothpaste stripes, and sharks’ teeth framed in gold foil.
He said the sharks’ teeth had all been collected by his wife, that when he was at the beach, he could never find any. Anyone who has ever tried to, will acknowledge that collecting sharks’ teeth is a very deliberate act, requiring patience and sharp eyes. And really, there is something of an art to it. The first time I ever found a shark’s tooth, I was ridiculous enough to think that someone had placed it on the sand for me…and my only companion at the beach that day was my dog.
Thus, the teeth, in addition to aesthetic objects, become symbols of monumental patience and deliberateness within a domestic and semi-idle framework (hunting for beach treasures isn’t exactly quantifiable or reliable). The frame, constructed of discarded foil serving dishes, is correspondingly grand and disposable—and like the teeth, the interest value is in the effort of the transformation.
Lauderdale’s works: black, white, red, white, and blue with electric guitars affixed to the surfaces, seemed to be at once macho and sneering. It’s hard to take icons--especially those already assigned a sort of cultural value--and reinvent them in an engaging manner.
When this is accomplished in a hurry, as Lauderdale admitted he’d done, the result has very few subtleties and layers. The works seemed to inhabit a sort of bizarre middle-ground between a snarky commentary on American pop culture and a hero-worship of the electric guitar form. A sort of grand statement reached for, but not quite caught.
Perhaps it is okay to make art with deliberation, patience, and a lower case “a.” Let art history take care of itself.
As a brief aside, Artwalk this time around, yielded a surprising find: Lara Simmons. Her line quality was interesting and sure. However the small collection she was showing lacked coherence. It is also clear that the artist is going through what must be the requisite Egon Schiele phase of her career. Her challenge will be to successfully translate her draftsmanship into larger-scale, or just more cohesive works.