In the Spirit of the Moment
November 8 - December 20, 2013
A mixed-media installation
“This is a gift that I have, simple, simple; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater, and delivered upon the mellowing of occasion. But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it….
William Shakespeare in Love's Labor's Lost, IV, ii
“Do not let anyone look down upon your youthfulness, but be an example….”
Rabbi Shaul (Apostle Paul) to Timothy in I Timothy 4:12
It isn’t easy being green….
Kermit the Frog of Sesame Street in the song “It isn’t easy being green”
In the past, I’ve compared my art to Johnny Carson’s original Tonight Show. There, anything could happen, from sophisticated talent, to an ordinary citizen’s personal story, and of course, the host flowing easily between the two, with wry wit and self deprecation. My art is equally eclectic, equally about current events, technical performances, as well as self revelation especially verbally.
Press releases have described my work as “addressing the polemics swirling around contentious social issues, and exploring the resulting dualities and paradoxes.” Dualities allow for painting palettes to become a devil’s head, or for telephone poles to equally function as crosses. Styles abound from Neo Expressionism, to California Funk, and trompe L’oeil realism, as well as Kitsch, seen in remodeled giant versions of paint-by-number art featuring Jesus.
In my most recent installation, I examine how Pop Culture has reduced traditional sacred iconography to sentimental kitsch, even as it raises kitschy mundane “Jesus in my toast” images to the level of revered sacred icons. As artist and juror Judy Pfaff said regarding Cheesy Jesus no 2: “Either it’s seriously sarcastic or spiritually serious—but either way it deserves to be seen!”
My farm background of “making do with available materials” suits the assemblage art style, utilized in sculpture and incorporated within the 2-D paintings. Old paintings from the past have been revisited or even recycled, and themes such as a man carrying a beam on his shoulder are recycled from a painting, to a linocut print, then digital mosaics, and finally a graphic installation on the wall itself. Vintage telephone pole cross arms and insulators add reality to the clear 2-D image, and a hollow, painted self fabricated telephone pole bridges the gap between the real and the artificial.
I enjoy the ability to react to the moment, and the ability to creatively allow any style or media to be utilized. I hope that the viewer will see the universal in my revealed personal moments. Perhaps instead of the viewer merely watching a talk show, we’re all really playing Jeopardy, both the viewer and the participant. “I’ll take Potpourri for $200, Alex….”
“I’m a poet and performer. My life is a dress rehearsal for the works I choose to put
Before the crowd and critics.”
Jerry E. Smith