statement 2020_ Min(e)d EFFORTS:the golden spiral geometry of ego, shadow and pneuma (spirit)
For 16 years I have labored to find the means to express absolutely nothing to do with my "self" -- aware of the contradictions that are present in my isolated instances of alteration (not creation) -- for years the works that I produced were indirectly tied to my self, but not born strictly from a present identity of my own which is divorced from external stimuli. My aim has been to illustrate others' narratives, not to expose my personal biography in a visual catalogue of personal feelings deemed acts of "self-expression"; I have long dislike the idea of expressing myself for having little understanding of why anyone would care about the "me" in it. If I were a patron of the portfolio showcased on this site, I would not want to read this, until I had seen the works. Had I seen this statement first, I would have been overwhelmed, by no means ready for the art show; this should be read after the imagery to see, perhaps, how it aligns with my content. -- Having read much, much of -- all of what I have read laboriously to make manifest is derivative only; I often wonder if talking about it, or my labors turn the works into drivel. Texts (marrying many of their contents) established precisely what works stem from my actions, and those works are best described as a synthesis of information from disparate fields, made concrete by way of establishing imagery representative of their interstices and nexuses.
As of late, my roles have reversed; creative instances are no longer born solely from the scientific, literary, psychoanalytical, mathematical, et al (subjects and authors). Now, the outpouring of the visual seems to be more of a manifestation of the persistent will of a sort of "waking R.E.M.". Since I turned 40 nearly three years ago, the outward transitioned to the inward. The links between content I was, and am, conscious of were once merely bound and brought together to illustrate uniquely concealed "marital matter"; as I have stated in another context, *aspects (inextricably linked *marital matter) of the subjects my works were predicated upon and thus, revelatory of a particular "one-fleshness" between the textual, and the text reified: the marriage between the language of many schools of thought stitched into a final form -- aesthetics notwithstanding.
Again, as of late, the image arrives separate from the text, independent of new input (previously unknown stimuli [unread texts] but not divorced from a narrative that could be given to the work after the fact. The shift from a posteriori to a priori (after the fact vs before the fact), represents a new vertices (as if the gaps/interstices between self and object are two or lines touching to for nexuses at an angle) of sorts, or, at the very least, a tangential arrival of a new modality for the production of new artworks. Note: I am aware that this is more of an expose' of my being cognizant of a shift in my means for production than an artist's statement. However true that may be, I am not overwhelmed by this shift in writing what is stylistically not a 'run-of-the-mill' artist statement, as it parallels my awareness of the new vertices, or, what I perceive to be a tangential "presence".
I have long believed, though errantly, that it was pneuma alone (which can be read in my writings elsewhere on this site) that was the sole manufacturer of my works, regarding texts as the catalyst(s) for the previously un-ignited flame of my "will to power"; having now seen the transition unfold, I now regard the last 15 or 16 years as a creative jaunt via the will of ego possessed by a shadow not yet befriended: pneuma merely present for the ride -- perhaps. As of late, text(s) has been sidelined to where spirit once sat patiently watching, and spirit, having joined the party, the triad has been exploring an altogether different use of my sublimated libidinal energy. The "new-creativity", I should call it, has little regard for what my body has done in conjunction with the presence of mind needed to calculate what would become of paper, pen, ink, graphite, wood, steel, stone, wax -- the matter (media) of art -- so as to formulate, somewhat unconsciously, a field of mines which make efforts to destroy what I never intended to make of either my art, or my "self". One of the two may, or may not have yet become the spectacle: famous, or infamous.
This reflection of mine upon the last 16 years of my journey to arrive at finally lassoing the wind, appears to have allowed for what I can best describe to be an evolution from harnessing the particulars of artifacts' and their arrivals, to the intangible particulars of things experienced to materialize unmarried moments: the "self" suddenly expressive, and explosive in nature. Not volatile, not unstable, but triggered as one having stepped upon a land mine. As an unintended pun, a mined mind, or, mined as though in search of gold; in either case, explosions will, or can happen, and they seem to have. Murphy's law: "Whatever can happen, will happen". Mind as the field, charges set, synapses firing in search of gold... I cannot with confidence say along with Archimedes -- "Eureka"! This new tangent set of creative acts is indeed charged with explosive potential, and has segued from the physical, to the metaphysical, and is to me, also purely intangible in nature.
These new strides are more easily argued to have a narrative, but only after the deed is done, and by no means beforehand. They are by no means automatic, as they demonstrate clear instances of the presence of mind required for any text to be produced, albeit more like the formulation of a poem than that of a technically written research document. If in any way they resemble a seminal dissertation, then only in the form of its precedent abstract; legible, as it is part of, or, describing the whole, but refuses to play party to the orchestrated ensemble of words that tell all. As part of an unknown whole, as though the result of a waking dream, the works are infused with "the realistic", but are demonstrative of the hallucinogenic experiences of psychedelic compounds' effects, and efforts of artistry made while under their influence.
It is a known fact that the mind produces many compounds that are like the aforementioned psychotropic compounds. What since the age of forty stands as a unique and new facet of the diamond that makes up my portfolio of work, are properties that appear far more closely to the effects of R.E.M. sleep. It is as though my waking moments are spent trying to illustrate the interior of my mind, rather than the interior of a text, where mind now becomes the story (or the story's setting), and the work becomes my "self" researched and abstracted. The documented efforts of my will to achieve the ability to represent the object as it is (realistically) now turned self-ward to extrapolate my experiences to know, at last, who I am. A 16 year period of practicing volatility traded for the treasure of knowing one's self as unwritten text (future [autonomy]), as opposed to allowing the past to define my self (the self in theory).
For too long I believe I was under the impression that spirit was the sole scripter, or guiding light, and while I cannot be sure either way, I have come (as of 2020) to allow for considerable amounts of time attempting to adjudicate what party ego, shadow, spirit and even, especially what party I (as "self" acting as the artist) have played in what I have (bodily) made. Keen to accept his own brilliance and exploit it, Salvador Dali wrote -- "The man who acts the genius, will be one." I have no way of knowing whether Dali acted as I have acted to extrapolate what genius is. NO -- I am not enamored by my own, but by any man or woman's would-be "genius", though only etymologically; on this notion I have written at length, knowing myself well enough to know that I do not fit the laboratory 'style of mind' so often deemed genius: in that sense I only proclaim to be ordinary. With that being said, I have to account for where my works come from (that they are not ordinary), or, I have felt that way a great deal, considering pneuma and its role in my efforts, but only etymologically:
late 14c., "tutelary or moral spirit" who guides and governs an individual through life, from Latin genius "guardian deity or spirit which watches over each person from birth; spirit, incarnation; wit, talent;" also "prophetic skill; the male spirit of a gens," originally "generative power" (or "inborn nature"), from PIE *gen(e)-yo-, from root *gene- "give birth, beget," with derivatives referring to procreation and familial and tribal groups. Sense of "characteristic disposition" of a person is from 1580s. Meaning "person of natural intelligence or talent" and that of "exalted natural mental ability" are first recorded 1640s.
Above, the study of the origin of the word sheds light on the mind of a human being in a way that lends to the notion that one can perhaps be under the influence of some external, spectral force. I ask, though -- what purpose would something of the sort impart its will onto a mortal lest it be for greater purposes than merely producing what are referred to as works of art, as opposed to something truly brilliant that could, as it were, save lives, or even save the species from its own ruin? There is a peculiarity to the artist as a type of "self", and his or her whims and drives to begin with; and from the vantage point of all others who bear witness to the perceived "madness" of creative types, I have the ability to empathize -- having come to reckon that somehow I have indeed "gone mad". I have no illusions, but there is something to be said about one spending more money and resources (even time) making objects that do not yield more profits than debts. That notion that such acts are seemingly "mad" is not lost on me. The ratio between the two is deeply unsettling, and if one is honest with him or herself, it begs the question why one remains so compelled unless they are either truthfully mad, or under the control of something far greater than their need to survive or fit into a social sphere of safety in numbers. Frankly, if my circle of friends could be brought into the argument as a way of establishing my sanity, I could easily be labeled antisocial; it is perhaps safer (or more fair) to conclude that I am not opposed to friendship, but being eccentric (by definition) is how artists are described, and therefore, eccentricity makes it next to impossible to maintain such relationships by virtue of having to stand apart from society to make art out of its acts of social intercourse: society as the artists media, subject and inspiration, but society is not his friend -- neither is it entirely his enemy, although one may suspect that of the artist and his innate instinct for social distancing. Society as text, as song, as dissertation, the artists art an abstract of the whole: the act of creative production merely the symptom of his her her very own inner mad, mad world of familia faces, worn out places and daily races -- as I said -- waking R.E.M.... and writer Roland Orzabal, of course.
The nearly requisite antisocial aspects of the creative type is not evidence of either psychosis, or neurosis, though it could and does often appear that way. In my own case, 16 years ago before I waded more deeply into the waters of the "art world", I was far more sociable, went out with friends, and participated precisely like others in society in my own sets of milieus. I golfed quite well, I enjoyed watching golf, I played it safe (not golf), and I was integrated into society by virtue of precisely what my first 18 years of public instruction inculcated. My own paradigm world view manufactured and tempered by what Althusser called the Ideological State Apparatus. Well, a branch of it, anyway. I was well-trained behaviorally, obedient to a T, quite normal by any metric, but I knew something was buried and needed to surface: the free-spirited artist. Somehow, I believe society had become the minefield, and in its midst, I only knew myself as others saw fit to know me, allowing me into its midst for my nearness to their type(s). When I returned to my adolescent passions and endeavored art as a career, it became more and more apparent that to do what I have done, I would have to relegate myself to my own isolated ivory tower of texts and the materials of art. Married to media, I helped to give birth to many, many children who only speak what I have spoken into them, and who evidently speak something else to others, and thus, the third vertices has had its own motives where ego and the shadow were along for the ride. The delimited will -- unbridled.
In either a fugue state, or in the absence of this third tier, I have been allowed to play party to what it has left imprinted on my whole being for 16 years now. Skills, knowledge, experience -- and suddenly I am set in a minefield making every effort not to destroy its remnant by failing to see the geometry of the mind it made, or at the very least, learning how to value the invasive solitude that it seems to require of me to obtain a prolific creative bent. While the solitude has offered a modicum of solace, I feel that a fourth and final tier of the feminine will come to be what ignites the final lasting obsession and flame of my artist-trek, as Gala was to Dali.
Michel de Montaigne wrote: "Obsession is the wellspring of genius and madness."
Time will tell where every artist stands regarding Montaigne's words, but with certainty one can say that everyone needs an obsession to be great at anything at all, even if his obsession is considerably corporeal: may she prove ethereal. Like all others, I pay my taxes, my bills, my time and attention to what I seek to be great at, but I have failed to pay, to buy into the appearance of a society that is saner than I? Having set a perimeter, laid the mines, and locked myself away in search of gold, I failed to discern that where it lies, and has always lied is somewhere between genius and madness, and my, oh my -- what a thin, thin line there is between mining for pure gold, for the pure self, or a heart of one.
statement 2019 - ART:UNREGULATED
The unregulated market of the art world...I should have said it long ago, but I would have not regulated my own statements. I make art to sell, it, but where does one draw the line, and what line weight should it consist of? What "value" should it have, and for that matter, does it have any value at all? Some will be disgusted, others offended, while others will continue to argue and fight tooth and nail to allow for the esoteric to belong to a special few who "get it", and that, for millions of dollars for seconds of effortless kitsch to be paraded as having no standard for what makes a work either invaluable, or without value.
Follow this link to watch -- CBS News only allows playback directly through YouTube.
statement 2018 - surrender
(Written in a font named --"Brandon Grotesque"
As a sculptor, I often wonder whether drawing, or continuing to draw, contends with my love of sculpting, or with public perception of what type of artist I am -- which is to say, am I taken less seriously for sharing space with a lesser dimension? Naturally, I did not begin sculpting before I began drawing -- just as I was 2 years old before I was 3 -- I crawled before I walked, sharpened pencils before chisels, and played with fire before learning how to wield it, or to weld with it. In this sense, drawing remains my sword of creative truth, if not the whetstone for my 2 to 3D maturation. In some ways I'm still the kindergartner removing Crayolas from their green and yellow sheath. Similarly, one may draw his sword and decide that he might benefit instead from forging his blade into a tool for carving wood or stone, instead of flesh and bone (beating swords into plowshares).
Ultimately, there has been contention between my 2 and 3 year old selves -- drawing vs. sculpting -- 2D and 3D, I have learned, are joined by space, and time. For me, drawing is like pulling the sword from the stone before putting the sword to the stone.
BUT BANKSY...YOU KNOW MY HEART. MY ALMA MATER IS NOT IN BED WITH CUPID...AND HER MINIONS' TENTACLES CAN'T DRAG DOWN THIS SHIP. THEIR ABYSSES ARE ABYSMAL... OUR WHITE FLAGS ADORNED WITH SKULLS AND BONES, YET THEY'RE THE PIRATES.
statement 2017 -objet petit a
Something other than paint...
Is it enough to make art alone? It was not a requirement that Michelangelo make a proper artist statement. We should never question whether or not that sculptor suffered from "physics envy". But he did make a statement, didn't he? MICHAELA[N]GELUS BONAROTUS FLORENTIN[US] FACIEBA[T] (Michelangelo Buonarroti, Florentine, made this). What is it I desire to do as an artist? And what does the patron desire from me?
Sculptures created by the dozen, black and white drawings created as quickly as prints from printers, archival quality ink on paper, pencil and charcoal on paper contrasted by red ink on paper to remind oTHERS of history [and what they're begging for from the wrong side of history], sharper photographs of the sculptures' wood grains, and just sharper, more HD photos on my website in general, grants for public commissions by the 10s per year, an invitation to freedom of thought and speech, less trends to follow here and there, a return of objective standards in the world of fine art, less relativistic trash-as-art, statements made by the art, less the artist statements, more art sold, all the art sold, Federally abolished debt for educators, artists, and those who borrowed money for a degree that does not have a job the real world needs, though universities spew their value while the professors lead students to believe impossible things, more or less? less IS more.
In 2016 I felt compelled to leave the patron with the sense that I was somewhat over with making a statement -- an artist statement. It is a burden in the hands which is separate from chisels, paint brushes, pencils, pens, ink and charcoal, which offers a certain slight of pain. On the one hand, there is the artist who prefers to allow his patrons to interpret his or her art independent of his or her involvement with regard to their audience members' perceptions of the artworks. On the other hand, there is the belief (held primarily by scholars, gallery owners, museum directors and the like) that the artist statement serves to enable patrons to have a modicum of sense as to what the artist is "expressing" when they view the artist's works in the artist's absence. Well, it is only a modicum, and with that sliver of sense to my patrons as to what I am up to, I suppose I can part ways with a few moments to explicate my intent -- but not my intension/s. If I may be allowed to keep some portion of my artistry secret, wherein lies the power of the art I, or any artist makes for that matter, then I will keep my good, or bad intensions (as they pertain to my designs and dealings) quietly tucked away within the recesses from whence they stemmed. I ask -- what artist, like his audience, hasn't also had to interpret the meaning of his own works?
In descriptions of my works, I may provide an inkling, or, a primer, but that should suffice: suffice it to say that so very much is fair, which to me, suffices.
If this is confusing to my audience, I neither have need, nor do I feel obliged to apologize, but I will lay down a foundation, a brief one, so that you might forgive me (with or without an apology) for offering up only my good intention/s, less my good, or bad intension/s.
My intention: To make art of every kind that I can, while I can, in order to leave something behind for posterity's sake, which demonstrates that not only was Brandon Heath Tart here, but with the time allotted to him from God, he spent a good portion of it doing, and not watching only. If I were to think much longer than I did in the instance that I began writing and completing the aforementioned sentence, then I do not imagine that I would become capable (or suddenly more capable) so as to express that I have a better intention than that, or will ever have a better intention than that. Were I to have said that I make art for notoriety, it would only be partly true; for that small part is so small, in fact, that I would also have to demonstrate how very poorly I have done with regard to apprehending that dubious and swift moving, unobtainable thing -- notoriety. The art being seen at all will produce enough notoriety for having been seen, and understood as being my own: Just as with Michelangelo, I might say -- "Brandon Heath Tart from Lillington, North Carolina, made this, or that" -- carving it into my portfolio's presence.
If further intention lies within my creative acts (yielding pieces often distant and distinct from one another), then it is to create with a level of variety so that my works are not solely attributed to "me"; having so many creative instances to draw from the universe I behold and am beheld by, it should seem to any and all (coming as no surprise) that my creative canon is somewhat shotgunned, as it were: there is order in the apparent randomness of space time, which implies design and a designer. Popular today is to develop a personal style, and I suppose that soon enough I shall, if time permits, if life continues; I doubt, however, that somewhere in my cosmic mind there is a whisper I've yet to hear that says so very loudly -- "Stay just here, just now, with this shape, within this pattern, hold fast to this moment and center your creative inertia on this tiny theme: SILENT BANG -- a flash of..."
What, shall I finish a sentence of pure conjecture that such a moment may one day arrive when I produce a line of some one theme?
Much to do with this remaining bit and bridle to make a homogenous portfolio reeks of being stifled by the trend of remaining so focused on one line, shape, color, form or ideation that it is as though those who do, have closed their hearts and eyes to the universe. Or opened their eyes and hearts to something seeking to own them. In the universe there is variety, and I can evidence it. For instance, variety begins elsewhere in our universe, in a cabinet of my own very aromatic culinary pantry of spices, right at home in a type of niche, the archetype the universe, the universe our home. One should examine its pantries, cabinets and cupboards.
For why has the audience of haute art become content with unseasoned foods for the eyes? Do the art world's practitioners also demand that their cuisine come only as was packaged -- "hold the garlic, dash the salt aside, simply say it's pepper speckled, but speckle it not. Dodge the dross of drizzled dressings donning deserts; bring us Alphabet Soup, the letter "D" only, do not add water, Drain it thoroughly, and again -- reduce it to D." MMM, MMM --- "D good intensions."
No, if fame were why I do what I do, which is to say, that if getting fame were my intention, it would not only elude my grasp, it would do so by hiding in plain sight, knowing that even if I could say -- "Hah, I have found you, FAME, and ...where did you go?" In the very instant someone finds fame it is gone from his sight. Fame may arrive, but the fame vanishes while the work remains. My legacy won't be bound in fame, but in efforts. Were it my modus operandi, the acquisition of fame, I would have sooner quit searching for fame for its being the greatest escape artist, and perhaps the greatest artist for having a glory that belongs not to man. Fame belongs to more humble men than I, so in that artist statement lies a greater pursuit than fame, wherein lies the promise that should a man humble himself, he will be exalted. Here or "There", exaltation seems far superior to temporal celebrity.
As for my intension/s, good or bad (and they are often both), this would merely be a cause for intellectual accord or discord with this or that patron of my work -- accord or discord with regard to religion, philosophy, politics: that is, the domain wherein our emotions are too complex for me to share in emotive merger with my own intellect so as to "enlighten you." Art tries this arduous task, having something to say... and what is it trying to say? IT, singular, says very little, and so very much of it is saying such different things that one should wonder whether one can listen to so many different, and non-convergent utterances of relativistic contrivances of self, to wonder in simultaneity as to whether or not he should even try. Skip the statements, draw your own conclusions and finally -- ask out loud -- do I agree that what I am looking upon is ART at all? You may be a lay person, but you know... don't you know?
For to that end, I suppose, I should find that my life would be better spent with the bad intenTION of pursuing fame; such a pursuit would be much closer to possible. Understand that I'd soon discover fame than to enlighten any soul, which if it were possible, you can trust that it is not I who is doing the talking, writing or art-making that led to any mortal's would-be "enlightenment".
For again -- I feel positive that is not my cause, nor is it a just one, a fair one -- for who am I anyway ------ FAMOUS? NO, should be my answer herein, and even if I were famous, why would you surmise that I might be capable of enlightening you -- what? due to my being "FAMOUS"? Such is the case with any public enamored with celebrity; God alone can enlighten a soul, and if famous artists are attempting to do so, I only have one thing to say: it comes as no surprise that their celebrity has established a sense that they can, or should.
I draw attention to the idea of fame for a simple reason; namely, that what artist makes art to hide it? The concept or, the intension of fame has been a part of every artist's struggle for that very reason. To spend time in the studio presupposes the instance of the work being seen, less the artists: for they can leave their statements at the gallery the day of the opening, as they shut the door behind them so as to avoid being seen...because its about the art, right?
Fame, notoriety, being seen or "discovered" is the hope of any creative type, and it should be! With that being said, one may seek to wrestle with precisely what they will do with any of the three, and once they receive the title, the mark, or the brand of approbation that they have done well, will it be enough? What, I ask, after fame, notoriety or being discovered will continue to deliver the simple joy found in their creative impetus? Finally, he comes to ask -- "What now...and why?" This draws us back to our shared intention: know why you make what you make, artist.
I have not made enough, I believe, and on the day that I die, aside from wasted opportunities to share the meaning of life in conversations with strangers so as to "enlighten them", I will know and regret having wasted time making so many statements to draw patrons' attention to "my works" intensions, as opposed to the intensions of the Other, which have been shared with me to share.
My artwork's intension/s should be that which the patron discerns on their own by drawing upon all their faculties (mental, emotional, spiritual, academic or lay-based) to allow the intensions to be discovered through reason and intuition. It is, in my humble, yet scholastic opinion, that overstepping in that aspect of my ephemeral relationship with my audience, where I would be committing an act of tyranny: NOTHING LESS. So it is fair, I believe, that the patron should come to love my intention, since the great majority of artists are more famous after they die to begin with. Scholars are going to argue over famous artists' intensions, so let them duke it out even after the lot of these artists left statements that should suffice as cause to silence these academics, if such is possible.
So, to my intention I will add that I would also like to die daily, and perhaps pass the fame thereby, to whom the fame belongs. I was created, and my works will be the vestiges of my having once been; even now, my works (while I live) speak to me of a coming day when I will no longer produce unoriginal works of art, but derivative works which are predicated on the Original, the Other, and all the Other, Original Designer gave me to do while I was, am, and will be here for a limited time. Is that not their singular, shared intension?
Based on my previous remarks, I should now defer to the words of the great Spanish Surrealist painter, Salvador Dali, who close to the end of his life felt that in all his creative pursuits, the very thing he was seeking to uncover was God in all he was doing -- paraphrased. I must add that something of my intension/s, good or bad, is imbedded in the words that Dali, whose name was, is, and will be Salvador, spoke. In that, to my patrons, the elusive is no more elusive, the hidden no longer out of sight, the silence no longer deafening, and the fame will befall its owner, who will hopefully bless the works of my hands.
less is more.
We make art, amongst other things, we artists; our statements, for instance, are made for a simple purpose: to grant patrons access to our intentions, and intensions. In every work of art that I produce, it comes into being by my having intended to do so -- this is without question, self-evident -- but in each instance of intending to produce the work of art, their exists in simultaneity a voice of intension: the exacting of a central and pre-existing idea upon which the work must necessarily arrive.
But in English, I think people just want to see something interesting. I'm quite ok with that.
Artist Statement | Brandon Heath Tart – 2015 | intention & intension
In 2005, semiotics came to play a critical role in my artworks’ arrival, by which a means of conveyance of my civic-self, and my art’s social purpose was forged. At the onset of this evolving process of contrivances, I sought to synthesize facts and theories from disparate fields by appropriating ideas of influential psychoanalysts, social philosophers, and art critics. My progression of marrying literary and formal devices has segued into purposed signs, which work toward one end: the dissemination of ideas into the public dialect to raise awareness of their presence, critical nature, and civic use-value. I seek visual applications of fact and theory to tie my art to working titles, or primers, which help decode the socio-historical narratives my works signify, as a redoubled effort to create objects with an educational directive.
My titles are not arbitrary appendages, but rather, work in concert with the image of the objects, whose origins most commonly lie beyond my personal, or familial history. Predicated on the premise that art communicates content, I consider how working titles grant patrons the capacity for interpreting, or, accounting for my works’ presence. The social role of my art precedes its arrival; linked titles enable patrons to begin dialogues resulting from my works’ representative characteristics. I avoid self-referential "self" expression, and favor capturing critical ideas to share them to inform others of their value to society. I consider this to be homage to the title patrons make possible - artist - who without patrons to entertain could only entertain his or her self. Carefully considered, the patron is my art’s source, meaning, and designated destination.