//Artist’s Statement 2017

Welcome and thank you for visiting.

Truth is the duality of fact and its exception. In an era of cold science and materialism I yearn to connect with a universal empathy, yet know in our fragmented society it is impossible. My art work starts from conversations about political, cultural trends and their affects. Injustice and identity are considered while paying homage to the innate beauty in our world.

Raised in a Lutheran Church, I remember learning about injustice first in a youth group meeting.  We played a video of children starving in Africa, war torn places with children picking through scraps of trash for food remnants and salvageable metals.  I remember vibrating with anger realizing my place in this world and my ignorance of fellow humans’ suffering.  I spent my teenage years quoting statistics of oppressed peoples and avoiding sweatshop goods, oil company conglomerated business and GMO foods.  I bought Rage Against the Machine t-shirts and felt good living “outside the system” in a warm well-fed suburb.

What is a rebel’s place in this consumer militaristic elite-democracy?  How did the Occupy Movement change discourse or did it do anything?  Does violence or protest matter in a nation that can professionally handle our social outrage?

“I’ve lived most of my entire adult life outside the law, and never have I compromised with authority.  But neither have I gone out and picked fights with authority.  That’s stupid.  They’re waiting for that; they invite it: it helps keep them powerful.  Authority is to be ridiculed, outwitted and avoided.  And it’s fairly easy to do all three.  If you believe in peace, act peacefully […] but don’t go out trying to sell your beliefs to the System.  You end up contradicting what you profess to believe in, and you set a bum example.  If you want to change the world, change yourself.”

Tom Robbins “Even Cowgirls Get The Blues”

What is the gallery money making machine but a non-dangerous place to share ideas with like-minded open people?  By making money making pictures inspired by inequity and self, am I part of the dilution of true experience and freedom?

My recent pieces marvel at the individual; how our perceptions shape our own and all others’ realities. I believe with a deeper communal connection between people we can begin the needed spiritual and moral evolutions we have been putting off.  Implementing experimental mark making, varied construction techniques, and dashes of trained naturalistic rendering I can effectively narrate the beauty and flaws of political, economic, societal trends in a relatable way.

We have been given a unique gift in this era of economic growth and psychological, mechanization, and general scientific innovation. I recognize my Obsessive Compulsion when worrying about career success or competing materially. Anxiety that colors our everyday choices is often given a face in my pieces. I respect the weapons of War and change in the possibility for danger, but I question our blind faith in innovation. Nature or biological imagery is often a sanctuary for me, representing God or safety.

Inspiration comes often from the salvaged materials of the canvases and found imagery of photographs, TV, and internet; intended to culminate in a metaphysical illustration of complex ideas.  When we walk down a street corner in the middle of the night we experience the haptic navigation of the sidewalk, the changing facades and alleys, anticipation of shadowy figures and nervous flight or fight chemical responses.  Up flash newspaper clippings of robbery victims, and we hear our parents’ voices giving us safety advice.  While all these things rage inside we still decide to walk on.  When danger comes and we whirl around ready for a fight, it could be one little fragment of advice that told us not to surrender.

“In the electronic age, when our central nervous system is technologically extended to involve us in the whole of mankind…[I]t is no longer possible to adopt the aloof and dissociated role of the literate Westerner.”

-Marshall McLuhan

In the piece Sip Coffee Slowly, I combine images of a faraway dark tree line, an expressive wheat field, a boy alone in the bath, a young matronly figure working on fabric, vibrant hexagons, and an overhead of a desert mountain range.  I took three different strips of fabric and applied them to the stretcher differently: one stitched to the other and gessoed, the last wheat-pasted on to emphasize its plush texture.

Unlike digital splicing and manipulation; painting can still show a deeper experience photos and video lack.  It can show how the mind interprets an overwhelming flow of psychological and visual information.  The brain still hungers for symmetry of form and pleasing arrangements of the most complex ideas.  The ever present, un-nuanced hum of the digital content stream we experience every day will fail to gracefully communicate individualism and our mind’s coloring of our physical lives.

Art making as a practice has temporarily become a thing of non-importance to the average person.  I recently started reading Arthur Danto’s “The End of Art” the way I watched old sitcom reruns in my youth.  I had heard this plot before and am sure where it is going to go.  The idea that Art’s exploration into new themes was progressing just fine until Duchamp and Warhol started stamping “art” onto readymades and copied silkscreens is fundamentally flawed in it’s assumption that the “breaking barriers” of new expression is the purpose of modern art’s evolution.

I feel about the boundary breaking definition of modern art the way David Foster Wallace felt about irony.  We have questioned romanticism, naturalism, dimensional rendering, how to hold the brush, what to paint on, to the point we have out-smarted ourselves into irrelevance in the regular person’s contemporary culture.  I share Wallace’s belief that our next purpose as culture influencers is not to tear down and question every structure established in our world; but to augment our individual experiences with deeper, more universal beauties and truths.

I wrote this out and rolled my eyes; I felt like I was starting down an argument for naturalistic style portraiture from a Pre-Modern state of our history.  I am not suggesting we abandon the critical strides our expressionists, dada, surreal, pop, ancestors made.  Moreover, I am arguing that all styles can exist on one plane and sing together with the wisdom of where we have come from.  My work could have a GE stencil, expressionist hatching, and naturalistic portrait of a young woman, and a minimal background of a sanded varnished woodgrain, and I expect the average person who know nothing about art history to find beauty and narrative in it.  I expect the critic to find all of the art history layers and go on a full experiential understanding of these carefully chosen elements.  Furthermore I would expect if more people made work with this level of trans-movement, trans-culture-ality we may blur the lines between “average man” and “critic” and we could all grow together as art participators again.

-Adam Triplett Written 2017

2018-04-13T21:42:30+00:00