'True Grit' 2021
Humanity's evolution is a fascination of mine. We have come so far, yet our emotional responses are identical to that of our most ancient ancestors. We still use our out of date lizard brain to react to situations in a world which is constantly overstimulating us. Our lizard brain is outdated hardware, which our modern, loud and overstimulating lifestyle isn't compatible with.
'True Grit' is the story of us as a species. The hessian has a natural bite to it, a grittiness, which exaggerates the marks made on its surface. It's an old school material used by the likes of Tintorinto and more recently Toni Fomison. It's outdated, just like us. The resulting images look primal, ancient and symbolic somehow. The frames are moments captured in time. Another symbol of the past. Simultaneously separating and connecting the now with then.
We are still evolving, who knows where we will be in 300 years. Will we have updated our hardware by then to reach a synergy with AI software? Or will we still be flailing around like the monkeys we are, believing we are it, perfect as we are?
'Human Soup' 2021
We humans create elaborate stories to create purpose and identity in this life. In my mind, humanity has become obsessed with difference. We have become obsessed with the fallacy that our differences are more important than what we all share. I want to remind us all of the fact that we all feel, think, obsess, eat, shit and hope. These thoughts originated with the myth of Sisyphus, and his continual struggle carrying his load up the mountain. Is there anything more relatable, more human, than that?
I have used hessian as a material to paint on for its rawness, flexibility, strength and grit. If the human species were a material, I’d say we’re hessian. I have also painted on the wall because humanity has been doing that for as long as we’ve had fire. We need reminding that we are still primal beings, beings who need warmth, shelter and each other, for sanity’s sake. The value of the simple rawness of life, unconstrained by our own impositions is a notion which deserves more importance as we dance through our day to day occurrences. We seemed to have forgotten the magic of curiosity as we get force fed highly processed ‘truths’ from multiple media platforms. Hunting for your own truths is liberating, just as hunting for your own food is.
I have been exploring the subconsciousness' involvement with conscious choices. There is a constant play in my practice between how the materials apply themselves and what my imagination projects onto the shapes those materials make. Materials used are MDF board, house paint, acrylics and black/white gesso.
I have a fascination with how people can project themselves into stories, and how we empathise with things we may not have experienced ourselves. We replay our memories like movies, and each time we replay them, they become more and more fictional, they become just like a story.
I am also interested in how we piece together information to understand ourselves. Language, image and music create a triangle of understanding which deepens our experience with every added layer.
sonder – n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. Narrated, written, directed, edited and coined by John Koenig.