2009-10 SUMMARY OF CAUSE:


STONE, FOREST, OCEAN

Always in progress and always in the past a group of paintings from 2009 look to geographic spaces that are usually found at the boarders of nations forest, stone, and ocean.





This imagery acts like blueprints, constructed memories buried within the infinite patterning and infinite abstractions of stones, forests, and oceans. Paintings are backdrops in my mind, historic pages that we live our contemporary lives within. Paintings pictorially inform and preserve our personal experiences, an infinite cycling of infinite patterns of infinite abstraction.

Periodic Passage features a competitive sports and leisure sail boat, repeated. Across the hull these ships are usually scored with absurd names to accentuate the owners bravado. Bats, the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight, something worthy of envy. Humans, the other mammal, make up for their lack and voluntarily file into metal projectiles. Bat shit crazy.

A vessel, a sovereign state floating on ocean, for me, demonstrates human curiosity, an object that obstructs the reality of infinite geographic space. An object whose curiosity leads to capital ventures, opportunity, prosperous trade, safer geographic climates, and mobility. An object that obstructs the unbound vastness of space. An object and its propulsion privatizes with each thrust forward.

But human curiosity can also lead to envy. Envy, occurring in whom assumes a lack in themselves. Envy, a perceived notion that others hold superior qualities, achievements, and possessions - either desires it for themselves, or wishes the other lacked positive traits. A dark space with unknown depth, which leads to displacement and skepticism.

Periodic Passage a competitive migration of boats from ocean to ocean, human curiosity and its envy flock.

Deep in the ocean nations and states cannot own, occupy, or inhabit. Countries claim ocean shores, but always in vain. The ocean reclaims its space of passage, not of residence. The ocean remind nations wealth has no place in its depths. Its fun to image how wonderfully irritating the ocean must be to world dominators. The ocean is an active and reflective space, contemplative with no capital quota. Unclaimable space, unclaimable imagination, and unclaimable origin.

Its expansive presence a reminder to all who imagine - imagining it only the surface of the ocean. Our relationship to the ocean is difficult. Caution. I don't swim, I can't swim, I've never learned. Nor have I learned to fly, the sky and ocean collide on certain days removing the horizon line and creating a continuum. A scroll. Flight.

Andrei Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev, 1966 opens the film with a flying contraption made from animal skin. Rublev, a painter, flies over his medieval landscape, the same landscape that constantly collapses upon him.









We gesture flight through hubris and false pride more than machines and technology. Icarus.

Spiritualized, a British band that formed well after the Cold War, a band that wrote music in the space between the world as a wide web and globalization theories. Spiritualized and its sound waves emerge between the Cold War and the Psychological War on Terror. Icarus comes to mind in the song Don't Just Do Something, an anthem to the abject beauty of our time - a psychological quaalude to mask the horror. A hypnotic synthesis to disarm the restless. Quaalude a post World War II vessel formed in the depths of India after its independence, desperate for capitulation, a Spiritualized pill.

In the painting Time and Space and Light Grew Still you see Saag Paneer, a character of imbalance. The unit is mounted to a tree, he won't fall, ultimately secured, but Saag Paneer is sea sick from his ocean of knowledge.





The redwood forest in Time and Space and Light Grew Still, is spiritual seclusion, privacy, secrecy. The inlets of orange light may feel like dawn, or dusk. The beginning, or end.










A Conventional Figure of Others Forgotten TV westerns, discovered by a child. Re-runs that captured the trends of the wild west campaigns for the endless landscape of Texas lore.





I resisted the reality of these narratives occurring in Dodge City, Kansas (Gun Smoke), or Lake Tahoe in Nevada (Bonanza). I investigated legendary characters and TV show heroes through coke-bottle lenses, with immediate blurry pleasure. Texas, the state providing hide-a-ways for fugitives. Maybe I felt this was what my family was doing until they obtained status to stay in the United States. A green card. Though I'm also thinking about a landscape familiar to my family, memories that I'm inheriting without direct experience, the Hindu Kush Mountains, A Conventional Figure of Others.

Dear Ordinary had Healed comes from a moment of total clarity. Riding mopeds with my uncle in India, the laws of gravity don't apply. We rode six per bike. I was hoping to create sequential images, as one image becomes the positive afterimage, the past and the next moment comes to replace it.





This image was playing in reverse, although the image painted makes it seem like it’s going forward. The red also reminds me of old photographs I find in my family albums… why do old photographs have that red glow to them?


LOOKING WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED

The fractured landscapes in my work often reference the Hindu Kush Mountain range. I use the Hindu Kush mountain range as an allegorical space for a narrative of trans-migration. I was partially inspired by Bahman Ghobadi's Kurdish films, mainly A Time for Drunken Horses, and Half Moon. The idea of borders, or boundaries, plays heavily in much of my work. On a literal level, the Hindu Kush mountain range is a site where ethnic and political tensions arise because nobody is quite sure who, or what, belongs in that space. No one group can rationally claim ownership to that specific space, and as a result the boundaries that are carved, and decisions about who, and what, belongs in each place turn quickly to the absurd. Migrations, of culture and people, are often the result of absurd claims to an appropriated religious or culture presence in the space of places.

This video more specifically, is comprised of painted backdrops, and stop motion and cell animation techniques. The video signifies displacement and the force of migrating away from native lands, taking only belongings of what one can hold in hand: clothing, spirit, culture, religion, and memory. Assimilating in new locations, bringing new perspectives and taking on new perspectives. Letting go and gaining the loss of former title, behavior, interpretation. In search of one's self, after the loss of so much information, and the collaging of new information.

We see the horseman character as unsure what to search for and unsure how to engage with his surroundings. The character's clothes are a hodgepodge of Asian/English ethnic groups and time periods, anachronistically representing his "anywhereness" and "anytimeness." Finding, however, him in a concrete geographical space, the Hindu Kush mountain range.

Most of my paintings play with eastern and western painting traditions and philosophies and this video more specifically plays with objects vs. artifacts - forced/collaged space vs. pictorial realism.

In search of historical significance, Looking with Your Eyes Closed must also rely on the emotions and of the viewer. The staged day-in and day-out timeline sets an endless continuum (usually exhibited in a loop). The psychological tonality sets forth vast imagined spaces, with isolated travels (time to think). The warm kodachrome-esque physical quality of the work utilizes the function of nostalgic time and space. But I also hope the viewer stops the wistful reflection of the past to see the now, as though this character is your undirected avatar running loose in a geographic-spectacle.


PROGRESS OF THOUGHT

I use the Hindu Kush mountain range as an allegorical space for a narrative of trans-migration. I was partially inspired by Bahman Ghobadi’s Kurdish films, mainly A Time for Drunken Horses, and Half Moon. The idea of borders, or boundaries, plays heavily in much of my work. On a literal level, the Hindu Kush mountain range is a site where ethnic and political tensions arise because nobody is quite sure who, or what, belongs in that space. No one group can rationally claim ownership to that specific space, and as a result the boundaries that are carved, and decisions about who, and what, belongs in each place turn quickly to the absurd. Migrations, of culture and people, are often the result of absurd claims to an appropriate religious or culture presence in the space of places.

It was, of course, the influence of the West - Britain’s Partition of India in 1947 – that catalyzed religious violence and territorial disputes in the Hindu Kush. During Britain’s reign in South Asia they managed to naturalized the conditions of their own presence. The British taught people how to behave and act “properly.” As the British pulled back, an arbitrary carving of boundaries (between India and Pakistan) caused millions of people to realize that they were “out of place.”
I see the same effects happening today, now through cultural imperialism. The Guggenheim Museum is, of course, an obvious visual example of this as it has expanded from New York, to Spain, and now soon to Abu Dhabi. The museum comes with its own institutional legacy and ideas about what should and should not be and how art too should “behave.” I am not interested necessarily in the overt geo-political aspects of the Partition, or of the political forces of cultural imperialism, so much as I am interested in how "we" collectively decide how things belong in what space.

So, the animation, Looking with Your Eyes Closed, utilizes the space of the Hindu Kush to depict a character looking for structure, looking for an identity and looking for a home that he feels is his own, not one that is forced upon him. The two By Your Leave paintings effect the same search, only here I am conflating my confusion about what is culturally appropriate in a geo-political sense with what is appropriate, and where it is appropriate, within the contemporary art world.

I am not nearly as interested in these ideas as grand political statements as I am as issues to deal with in the every day. For this reason, I relied on a daily Koranic dua, or prayer, for the titles of the two new paintings. I used the lattice work of the glass ceiling at the Guggenheim to represent the sun and the moon to evoke the daily aspect of these questions, but also to invoke the figurative use of the phrase “a glass ceiling” – a forced constraint placed on artists and art culture by the Western canon of art institutions. I angled the paintings on the paper as an attempt at the very smallest of revolts.

Indentity = an indentured identity.


FUTURE MUSEUM




By Your Leave We Have Reached Night (Left)
By Your Leave We Have Reached Morning (Right)

Acrylic, Enamel, Inkjet Transfer on Paper





VIDEO EXPERIMENTS


How to Open Animation Box, 2009

How to Draw a Brown Bear, 2005

Grenade, 2005, 50 minutes (detail from video act)