An unlikely Confluence with artists Spencer Moody, Ben Cuevas, and Michael Lorsung on display through April 20th. Closing reception April 5 from 5-7pm during First Friday.
Spencer Moody is a musician, author, and poet currently living in Los Angeles
I need my work to be lush and colorful. A total surrender to the southern California idealized and solidified in my own youthful mind long ago. A land of cars, sunsets, and palm trees.
These works explore contemplation, struggle, depression, impotence, ecstasy, and the end of the world.
I’m looking to do this without irony and without contradiction.
I will paint like Angeleno.
Though I have a dark side I have abandoned darkness.
Though I do not know if love is stronger than hate I choose love.
Knit Veins is a continuation of my sculptural work of knitted anatomy-representing that which is inside the body in a medium traditionally intended to cover it. Through this interplay of interiority and exteriority, scale is very much a focus in this piece, placing the viewer in relation to the idea of a body that is larger than the self. The concept of a meta-body comes to mind; a body that speaks to “the nature of the matter, or body considered in general, [and] consists not in its being something which is hard or heavy or coloured…but simply in its being something which is extended in length, breadth, and depth,” (-Rene Descartes). The Knit Veins, installed in this way, allude to a body that transcends the individual, extending beyond our identities, corporealities, and ourselves. But, as my work is often autobiographical it also was inspired by my own identity and sense of self. As an artist living with HIV, blood has a special significance for me-having a blood-borne virus makes this subject matter particularly charged. I think of this work in conversation with other HIV-positive artists like David Wojnarowicz and Ron Athey, who put blood front and center in their work. Rather than confronting the viewer with shock or unease though, as my forebears do to great effect, I seek to confront in a way that denotes comfort, imploring one to marvel in the intricacies of the body, and in being part of something bigger than themselves.
I am interested in objects that are human made, but not necessarily handmade. I relish the idea as a species we have largely created the contemporary world that we live in and interact with on a daily basis. Our relationship to the objects that run through our lives is largely passive in so far as our thoughtfulness about their origins. Because of the ubiquitous nature of human made objects coupled with the throw-away, utilitarian culture we live in, we frequently dismiss or simply never recognize the beauty in these things.
My own introduction to art and object-making was through the lens of craft, has colored many of the assumptions and understandings that in have regarding the origin of objects and their associated value. Culturally we understand handmade objects to embody value that is directly related to their having been crafted by a discernible author, even if the exact identity of that author is opaque. Conversely, we classify industrially produces products as raw commodity, that is that they exist in classes of objects (” an iphone”, “a Toyota Camry”, etc.) rather than as an individually identifiable object. The objects are interchangeable, they lack individual identity in the way that a specific crafted object might not. As a result, we value these things mostly in relationship to their utility, and rarely spend time to understand their connection to humanity in a larger sense.
This has to do with the language of industry, its ability to faithfully reproduce designs in numbers and with such close tolerances that oftentimes the things that might make an object unique or identifiable are hidden beneath this veil. What is also hidden though, is the fact that these objects come from the minds and the hands of human makers. Be these from the Chinese factory worker tediously assembling iPhone components by hands, or the process engineer who developed the workflow for the assembly of door panels on a Toyota Camry, these things are as human as the romanticized vision of a potter alone in her studio, thought they certainly lack the luster and cultural cache of the latter.
My works seeks to explode these relationships, by using visual language from my craft background as well from my experience as a consumer and worker in the industrialized world. I strive to expose the commonality that all human produced objects share, regardless of origin, and in doing so to better understand a world that increasingly seems intent on obfuscating this connection.