Monday, June 25, 2012

June 24
Eva Champagne
Emerge from Concealment 

Concealed Preferences

Biology is amazing. And sometimes a little icky. This piece, a sequence of four loaf-like ceramic forms, brought to mind ocean life, plants, or mushrooms. They also recalled the body, microscopic views of tumors or cells.

They walked the line between alluring and repulsive. At first I favored the two that were asymmetrical, finding them more interesting. The symmetry, glazing and the decorative layout on the others were, I thought, too neutralizing of that tension between attraction and repulsion. I concluded too quickly that this contrast was the point. The ones that were ickier were more difficult, and difficult was more interesting. Then, my eye, without my permission, started straying to the ones I had decided were inferior.

Does the level of difficulty determine the worth of an artwork? Is it better if it is more difficult, slower to be liked? Slower to be liked by whom? Is something decorative more easily dismissed by contemporary art viewers? By me maybe. But in this case the decorative element might have been the more subversive. Why do we value subversion? I was falling into a rabbit hole with this work.

I guess that when I look at a work I want to be attracted. I want that attraction drawn out. I want to be interested, intellectually. I want that interest drawn out. I want artwork to question me and question itself and the established order of aesthetics. But as soon I lay this all down I want to be proven wrong. 


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