July 2nd was the opening reception for the Arts 2010 juried exhibition, in which my painting was included, and which runs until August 29th. While the gallery was pretty well packed upon arrival, after at least 30 minutes the number diminished suddenly, it seemed, by half. One really cannot blame the vapid post-modern attention span too much, when the collective non-aura of the work in the gallery is taken into consideration.
The opening address was so blandly ethereal and unmarked by any hint of boldness or any common connection with human life that it was the very extension of what is called "applied art". I don't know if this is part of some purposeful and conscious effort to neutralize all manifestations of truth with the very language that employs words like diversity, expression, creativity and so forth, into a politicized ghetto where subjectivism rules (and where even subjectivity is annihilated).
Our cultural ghetto is not one of suppression, at least not in the explicit sense. It is one of a very deadly and subtle assimilation. And the artist who makes pretend that he is positing truth and diversity against the flattening effects of this culture does not understand that he is merely feeding it - that is to say, he does not understand that the de-spiritualizing, anti-incarnational operatives are coming from that assimilative field which is at its most deceptive when it appears as some kind of neutral ground. If the artist wants to create portals that open onto the infinite, he must come out of the boat like St. Peter.
I was certain there was going to be at least one homo-promo painting in the exhibit, as this has been a usual course with the gallery over the years; but there was not one - I hate to almost say - sadly. Because when you look at work like the following,
the initial thought that comes to mind is that a few of those propagandistic paintings would be practically welcome.
In the above works, guess which won first place in the "works on canvas" category. Now guess which won second. Now guess which got honourable mention. I'll make it easy: the pictures are in that order, starting from top to bottom.
Notice I discluded third place in that list. Third place - and showing that not all is lost - was the painting shown here, of the oranges, in between the two others (and hey, they placed my painting beside it!):
What is sadder is that a good chunk of artists who won awards or honourable mention did not even show up at the reception to receive their recognition. Is so-and-so here? So? Alright, on to the next one. Now, some years back, when a painting of mine was included in the exhibition, I didn't go to the opening reception. It didn't win anything, but I realize now that the good thing to do is to show up, whether one gets first, second, third, honourable mention, or is simply included in the exhibit.
But what kind of arrogant indifference rules when a second place winner doesn't show, along with a bunch of other "winners"? And please don't give me any of that humble anonymity foulness. Talk about a cultural event that is a lie in every respect. It's rather diabolical; for what is a worse dismantling of our sense of cultural event - and thus of community - than a cultural event that negates itself - playing out its symbolical inversion as though it weren't inversion? But it's a lie.
Winners were hesitant to show up, and viewers were quick to leave. The opening speech almost implored the audience not to listen too hard, and the top canvas picks of the jury sucked donkey shit. A big pile of donkey shit would actually be more interesting, to one who has the contemplative gumption, with the flies that buzz around it and land thereon, laying their wormy progeny within; how it mixes with the rain, and how it bakes in the sun, the pathogens being killed off, and its final blessed withering into the soil that produces life and nutrition.
I went back to the gallery a couple weeks after the opening to take pictures. This exhibition I was pleased - or at least not exasperated - with how my painting appeared:
And I liked this landscape: