A country road. A tree. Evening
Opening reception June 7th from 6-10pm. On view June 7th -30th.
Please join us for our 12th exhibition at FJORD opening June 7th and curated by Sean Robert FitzGerald. We are excited to include the following artists as part of this exhibition:
Keith J. Varadi
We always find something, eh Didi, to give us the impression we exist?
Yes yes, we're magicians. But let us persevere in what we have resolved, before we forget. (Beckett, "Waiting For Godot")
“I broke everything down into its constituent parts, those parts into further parts, and could no longer encompass anything under a single concept. Individual words swam around me: they dissolved into eyes that stared at me and obliged me to stare back: now they have become whirlpools I feel giddy looking down into, which spin around incessantly, and once passed through lead into a void.” The Lord Chandos Letter, 1902, Hugo von Hofmannsthal “Ein Brief”, Gesammelte Werke
“The problem of painting” is really an idea which today seems like an argument or question rehashed and purportedly answered so many times that it is in danger of losing any of its original validity or potency. Yet we still read and hear critics and artists alike discussing the death and problematics of painting today. Currently, some attribute this supposed death to the proliferation of multimedia capabilities, relational aesthetics and installation art. While others feel the state of painting is diluted by its current condition of plurality in which literally anything is possible and anything goes. Perhaps the real problem of painting today lies within the inability to agree upon any of its contested problematics, despite the vast popularity of this topic within contemporary critical dialog. But really, what we should be asking ourselves is wether or not this is a problem in the first place. As a parallel, in Samuel Beckett’s play, “Waiting for Godot,” Vladamir and Estragon wait day after day in vein for the arrival of the mysteriously evasive Godot, until finally they forget their reason for waiting, and their plight is therefore rendered absurd and their situation impotent. Yet, they keep waiting, in the same way that painting is very much still "alive" despite its critics and naysayers proclaiming its death countless times in the past. How many times can we ask a question or repeat a task before it loses its consequence?
Perhaps all of this talk about the death of painting is really a diversion from what seems today like a much more crucial topic: the problem of meaning in painting. Contemporary painting is experiencing a period of stylistic profusion so overwhelming that it can seem at times as though we are trying to communicate to each other in tongues. In “The Lord Chandos Letter,” Hugo von Hoffmannsthall composes a letter under the guise of a fictional writer experiencing a slow descent into complete crisis concerning language and his career as an author. Having, in his eyes, lost all of his ability to meaningfully express himself in even everyday situations and conversations, Lord Chandos begins to experience transcendentally poetic moments of ecstatic revery. The tragedy and crisis lie in Lord Chandos’ inability to communicate the gist or gravity of these spiritually poetic experiences to others, or even to understand their potential significance to himself due to linguistic inadequacies. Using this story and its ideas as a lens to consider painting leads to many parallels and questions. Firstly, we are reminded of the inherent problematics of trying to use language to describe or discuss art; especially painting. Secondly, we can ask wether or not sensory material (ie: a painting) is valid or capable of representing a spiritual reality or subjective thought. Lastly, we can concern ourselves with how meaning is made through painting. Do objects or images contain meaning within themselves and to what degree is meaning culturally assigned and shifted? In order to discover meaning in something, (a painting, the act of painting, language, ritual, etc,) we must break it down into parts and look at the parts individually as well as their interconnectedness. However, as we break something down further and further into its constituent parts we inevitably bring ourselves closer and closer to absurdity. Perhaps though we should accept absurdity as good ground on which to stand, and begin to build meaning from the grounds of irrationality up.