MFA Thesis Show Prep

My thesis show fast approaches.  I am very excited that artists Yves Scherer and Grear Patterson are presenting my work in my first solo show at their exhibition space, The Sheridan.  The website will contain the information for the show in the next week: sheridan.nyc. I really appreciate the ultra-simple layout of their site.  It is a reminder that successful design can be achieved without resorting to fancy layouts (such as the Squarespace site I use, ha!).

My show moves the dense, cryptic work that covers my studio walls into their exhibition space.  The name of the show, "Total Noise", is from a David Foster Wallace essay (Introduction to Best American Essays 2007) where he uses this concept to describe the difficulty of making an informed choice when the amount of information to parse is nearly infinite.  In 2007 he articulated this feeling prior to the tidal wave of smart phones.  I can't imagine what he would say now, but I think his description of "Total Noise" still hits the nail on the head: "the seething static of every particular thing and experience, and one’s total freedom of infinite choice about what to choose to attend to and represent and connect, and how, and why, etc.” I came across this essay when I was well into working on my studio as the site for my work, but it was one of those wonderful moments where something comes along that really resonates with a path you're already on.

The first wall in my show.  9' x 6' pen, pencil, marker, watercolor, acrylic, oil stick, post it notes, LEDs and wire on paper.

The first wall in my show.  9' x 6' pen, pencil, marker, watercolor, acrylic, oil stick, post it notes, LEDs and wire on paper.

So, back to the work.  I took as my starting point our posture as we bend down into our devices.  As we bend more and more, we eventually turn all the way back into ourselves and we're left with a closed off circle with a directionless line representing our devices.  This rather cheeky image became a meaningful symbol to represent many of the concepts within the work:

"Total Noise" logo.  The human form reduces to a circle, the line represents the device.

"Total Noise" logo.  The human form reduces to a circle, the line represents the device.

This bending down or turning in became the aesthetic impetus for the studio wall paintings.  All the while I was asking myself about what it means to respond, react, and be a part of this noisy culture as a studio artist.  If at first I thought of the studio as a retreat it quickly became a response, a pause and a being-in the climate of "Total Noise".  And the artist within the walls is me but also this other, this type of shut in who tries to make sense of the noise.  He collects TVs and other objects from the street and puts them in his studio.  He repeats forms and morphs them. 

Part of the show places old, found televisions that I paint over and scratch into to make an image that shines through because the "snow screen" (or "white noise" screen) of the television.  The random signal of the snow screen neatly intuits the concept of "Total Noise."

Part of the show places old, found televisions that I paint over and scratch into to make an image that shines through because the "snow screen" (or "white noise" screen) of the television.  The random signal of the snow screen neatly intuits the concept of "Total Noise."

But to make sense of "Total Noise" is impossible.  So the show as a whole gives off this sense that there's a code or cipher within the work but we can't ever grasp its meaning.  The code eludes us.  The artist's meaning comes close but remains outside of our grasp. 

A detail from Wall 01 of my show.  The mind-mapping/diagrammatic style spreads throughout the wall works, but a code or ultimate meaning eludes the viewer (I think). 

A detail from Wall 01 of my show.  The mind-mapping/diagrammatic style spreads throughout the wall works, but a code or ultimate meaning eludes the viewer (I think).