January 17th, 2009

Richard Aldrich at Bortolami

Artist: Richard Aldrich

Venue: Bortolami, New York

Date: January 8 – February 28, 2009

Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy the artist and Bortolami Gallery, New York.

Press Release:

–Sometimes the best that’s possible is a stand-in or an approximation in order to manifest a desire for the internal. In the process you make notes inadvertently that reveal the gaps between a fantasy and one’s own ability. It becomes the same thing over and over. Then maybe it’s a confidence issue from then on. Coping with one’s fantasies. Drawing (on) something that’s out of reach so instead drawing the reach, or pretending to.–

It’s not about what this painting does

A wanderer comes across a pile of chipped porcelain pieces. Set to work with glue, they construct an elegant saucer. When the previous owner, before they no longer had a use for it, first found the pile of chipped porcelain pieces they had constructed a teacup, and the owner before them a figurine of Adonis. Thus is the nature of history: many pieces always being found and then reconstructed.

Artwork is an inverted tmesis, that is pieces broken from a whole. And meaning is created by the interpretation, that is the reconstruction, of this tmesis. The viewer is thus, in actuality, the creator. They have been given, by the artist, a language with which they begin to explain themselves. The artworks become connecting tissue for the thoughts and revelations of the viewer. The artworks become mirrors for the viewer to re-view themselves in (and this “re-viewing” is of importance as one is changing every day). We visit different stores everyday, always investigating ourselves in their mirrored glass walls.

It is only in our unconscious that we can begin to understand ourselves. This is the role of the psychedelic. (Followingly: the preoccupation with psychedelics (the generic classification of the 60s by the 90s)). The mental space of the reconstructing of artworks into meaning is the psychedelic. Or rather the psychedelic facilitates the mental space of reconstructing artworks into meaning. The psychedelic is the unconscious conscious. It is the storage unit until our unconscious is ready to envelop meaning. It is the blissed state of entering the “gallery” (the gallery being any physical architectural space that houses the psychedelic).

Many things become attached to a specific event or idea. Unfortunately often a multitude of events will be funneled to choice “a)” or at best, choice “d) all of the above”. This is the importance of flux: with flux, givens are taken as such only for amusement, (and this amusement is not meant as belittlement), but rather that scientists are our premiere novelists and are always working ways to send their peers into space. With flux what is important is the manner in which our brains are being trained to digest and navigate data in an objective way (with the subjective being the specifics, and the specifics being the temporary givens). I may like this couch and you that, but we both understand the pleasure of “taking a load off”.

time again and again “oh but here, oh right here. between these two trees” we were standing between two pines. their spent cones were all over the ground. their tips pointing up, looking kind of like fingers. there was a bit of snow fall the past couple weeks, though not enough to weigh the branches down, they held up just fine.

“this is were we left them two,” he had a pained look on his face and I kind of just looked to the side, not wanting to acknowledge his anger, nor the fact that we may be in some sort of trouble or predicament. there were five of us earlier, not on a trip really, not even a short hike, just out for the morning, just out to see the trees, or the sunrise or a set of animal tracks. not even did we bring a canteen. but now he is jumping up and down, really over reacting, really making me nervous, I am feeling a tinge of cold, kind of like anger or fear. he is jumping up and down and waving his arms in arcs.

earlier we were in a room, there were these old antique tin men and women that were on the floor, laid out to form some sort of narrative, abstract it may well be but never the less a narrative. It was kind of like a diorama and there was music playing and blue wall hangings that were meant to represent the sky, cloudless of course, like we want a cloudless day because that seems it would play a better role as far as the tone of our narrative. Or, conversely, we may want the background to be dark and stormy. as narratives are usually quite easy because you make them up as you want them to be. we stayed in this room for awhile. the tin people were not in too much detail, mostly it was a sort of oxidation or stain that made out any facial details or physical characteristics, though each one as unique in and of itself, in other words they weren’t cut from any mold. from a distance they were quite interesting. “no real narrative could be discerned really though” I thought, as in some global narrative that all could understand. I knelt to the ground in order to get a more level view, the blue sheet—the sky—illuminated the tin people nicely. it served as a nice backdrop and reminded me of a blue screen, the kind that they use with special effects. this seemed good to me too. I mean what with the sort of fluidity of this whole thing, it made sense that the back drop too could be ever changed. when I thought about this I realized that it never said anywhere that the blue was actually the sky, I, well we, just all assumed this. later I told this to my mother and she said if there is one thing she should have taught me it was never to assume. She said she assumed she had told me that, and then kind of grinned, she is always making those sorts of jokes, even still today when I call her on the phone, something witty. and there was music playing but it seemed to be coming from outside. It also was the perfect mood music, especially right there, I think even the people that ran the place, though they weren’t in the room then, told us that they too thought that it fit well. On the lake the sails of the boats were lessening more and more.

“they’ll never reach the moon!” we were quite excited and jumping up and down, even, dare I say, pumping our fists in the air. our faces were red and our cheeks large. out of breath we laughed and held our stomachs. we watched the sails, mostly canvas colored, but every now and again some home-done painting or design. usually pretty rough. these people had no need, nor desire I might add, for any commercially manufactured sail. it wasn’t decoration you see, if it was anything it was marking. In the identity sense. that is something like, “I am the horse rider”. this is on to which we were laughing and bawling. I still was standing but two had fallen to the ground, doubled over, as if caught by some malady, but no sickly malady of course, it was hysterics. a passerby later told me he thought we must have been drunk. “It might of seemed that way but no, we weren’t drinking a thing”, I told him with a grin. Our hair had grown long with the time spent there, and we hoped not to go back and feel more in a hole then before. I walked a straight line to the edge of the bank. a man, a sailor in every sense of the word— turtle neck, boots, everything, was startled as I noisily clamored up to the edge of his boat (docked of course) “do you charge the normal fare of $2.00 for a ride to the other side of the bank?” I wasn’t sure if he could even be charted, but my friends had given me the task of finding out. he looked at me and the sun behind me and gauging the time left in the day replied “two per person of course”. “of course” I replied, it was fun to be a part of the game, of the rigmarole. “Of course” of course if this were an every day thing I’d be as sick as the next person. his daughter, also a sailor, emerged from the great depths that must have been the ship’s (sail boat’s) gully. I smiled to her, trying to maintain our innocence as passengers, as way of a hello. “we haven’t been able to pay the rent this month” I asked why not “two dollars, only two dollars, the river is tightening, it is constricting along my father’s neck, his juggler vein bulges in the moonlight, the stars show his bloodless ankles that hang limp off the edge of the boat. I fear he shall greet his doom prematurely by way of suicide in the sea, the black sea.” she said she had no friends and mostly just looked onto the river and fished in sections that swirled as so to form a more conducive environment for the blue gills, catfish and other swimmeys. I offered to pay an extra bit, which she declined, “he is a fair man”, and would of course take a larger fair had the river been wider or more treacherous, but as it stood, our group could of likely crossed with a pladoon and a line. As she spoke I looked over her shoulder at her father pulling in the line. my friends had boarded too, and we had all stopped laughing now that the gravity of the situation made itself felt. between them there were murmurs of getting off and sticking around a bit longer, it felt fine and the flashes were such that one could deal with them. But because of my roots, I suppose, I said we must go back. “Is it an adventure you had been on?” the daughter asked. She wore overalls, and had worn skin and pretty eyes, her smiled exposed itself frequently albeit for only a snap of an instant. she spoke colorfully as if she learned to speak not from her father nor mother but from a book of old times. her hair was thick with the moisture of dirty river water that is splashed into the air. “oh our people…[colorful language] we are just beginners, I studied to be an engineer and no job was there for me.”

“oh our people

we are just beginners

I studied to be an engineer

and no job was there for me.

I wear armor of gold

yet beg for bread in the markets

the street’s mud cakes my ankles

and my calves strain from the miles I walk

oh our people

we are just beginneers

I studied to be a poet

and my brother joined the military

my writing arm broke from too much talk

and the love it fueled my memory

oh our people

my brother died on the first day in the field

the field was strewn with mud and dead bodies

our belts carried our personality

our belts carried our personalities.”

we wrote this together as we set out back to town. she’d do a verse and then I one. I asked if she really had a brother in the military, she said no, but that she felt that she was her brother in the army. I thought that a bit shallow, poetically speaking, but then thought her skin seemed very rough, very masculine, while her eyes and lips were very feminine. so maybe the split into male and female was not even her idea, but her bodies, so she just went along with it as I suppose most good poets would. She asked if I had studied to be a poet. I said no. She said we both liked lying and winked. Before I could reply to that, she said she wished to write poetry that followed no rules, that usually when she came across something she didn’t like, she often had a hard time explaining why, but that she had this vague notion that what led to her awkwardness was that it always seemed to follow some sort of standard rule. And that she sometimes thought that the only real way to gauge something’s worth was to count how many rules it had broken. I said that maybe some rules were harder to break, or could be broken in a real big way and that maybe that would deserve more points (in the judging). she agreed with that. As quickly satisfied as I was I turned around to look off the edge of the boat and then behind me to my friends who sat huddled in the port bow. they had gotten a blanket and were all underneath forming just one large amorphous body with odd bumps and turns. The daughter caught my distraction and for fear of her interpreting this is a waning of interest I asked her if she wrote poetry. she replied that she did, but would never call it that, that she merely had to pass the time somehow, and so wrote descriptions of her surroundings along the river. I said “isn’t that the first rule you should break, not writing representational poetry?” she said I misunderstood her whole point, though she didn’t seem too put off by this. “how have I misunderstood?” I countered. she replied that thinking that there is actually a first rule to break, is the first rule you must break.

I sat onto a largish rock that seemed flat enough to be a suitable seat and tried to enjoy my surroundings. My friend had settled down a bit, even apologized for going a bit overboard, and we decided that we should just sit here for a while and wait for our comrades return, and if after some as of yet undetermined amount of time they hadn’t shown up, we head off alone and hope they could make it back to our boat. we wished that there would be some way to contact the sailor or the daughter or the wife and tell them to keep an eye out for our comrades and, I suppose, ourselves as well—it wasn’t as if we were totally comfortable in these parts. but for now a bit of procrastination a bit of unaccepting of the immediate situation, that is our reality, seemed like an o-kay idea.

we’d be sitting on a wood floor. there was one small, very short table that served more or less as an arm rest. it was actually quite comfortable, and when I was propped against it I felt as if I were posing for a photograph. I ran my fingers in-between the cracks of the old wooden floors. The repetitiveness of the music made it easy to hum along with and made you feel like you’d been there awhile. The others made jokes about maybe moving the tin people around, either just as a formal venture, that is to make, for example, a circle or a straight line, or maybe try some kind of scene; a nativity scene was one suggestion. I thought that seemed a little silly but didn’t say anything.

I heard footsteps and it was the clunk clunk of one of the owners. the hard wood floors serve as spectacular sounding boards for the man’s heavy boots. I never saw him because the two offices from which he was going from one to the other, were at the north end of the room, my self being at the south end and laid out facing south as well, so he became an inadvertent part of the music and the whole scene. these were the parts that I could not control: his heavy walk and my friends chatter. furthermore the owners walk resonated in my brain afterward, way after he had passed through. it’s existence was suddenly a possibility and my mind was free to inject it anywhere it felt was necessary for it to go. I would almost say it is like the phantom leg of world war two veterans, still itching long after it’s amputation. Part of it too though I suppose is that since there was really so little in this environment anything that made the slightest sound or movement really had a booming effect. Interestingly my friends chatter, I suppose due to it’s constant drawl, seemed to drop out of the picture, and it wasn’t until they stopped, when the owner came though, they were fearful, I suppose, that they were being to loud and were to be reprimanded, that I even realized just how little all their noise was really making.

As it turned out the walking was intended to move us along. Time had gone by quite fast while we four were there, and seeing as how we had only gotten there late in the day, there wasn’t much time to be had by. We gathered up ourselves and giving the room one last look we bid good- bye to the two proprietors and headed back out into the world.

Link: Richard Aldrich at Bortolami

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