Tuesday, January 11, 2005

DO YOU LIKE?

Ran across the work of this artist this morning, and I find her sculptures and photographs incredible. As a person who both loves animals and loves to eat them, taxidermy has always appealed to me, as it necessitates the ability to view living forms as lifeless.

The fact that the artist in the linked page kills the animals that she eventually puts in her art doesn't bother me anymore than, say, finding a deer on the side of the road and severing its head for a small student film.

I should like to think that someday I will be a taxidermist, and glass blower, and fuse the two pursuits into something lovely and grand.

13 comments:

King Koopa said...

It appears Ms. Edenmont attended The Bob Dylan School of Giving Interviews.

I've got a friend's dog I'd like to nominate to be part of her next exhibit. His name is Kubrick and his favorite activities are suddenly barking at random noises and leaving turds in unexpected places.

T.S. Farmhand said...

Edgy!

I thought her stuff was boring and childish, and just a little bit offensive since she kills her subjects. Do you really think there is no difference between using an already-dead animal and killing it?

But I am not offended so much as turned off--sort of same ballpark as confrontational performance art, Piss Christ, and Damien Hirst. Real art connects me to something huge and meaningful; this stuff offers up a simple, lazy contradiction no deeper than what you'd see on MTV.

Next up: abortion art.

Mathis said...

T.S.--

I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Granted, Piss Christ was childish and merely an attention grab, but Damien Hirst? You don't like his work?

As far as the above-referenced artist is concerned, I liked the combination of natural parts and artificial parts. And the presentation and photography of the pieces are really beautiful, as well. Not all of her work is exquisite, but I did like particularly the stuffed rabbit/stuffed rabbit. As far as the difference between killing an animal for consumption or for art, I would say it is negligible at best. But that is me, and I am a cruel bastard. Zoologists cloroform or impale specimens all the time for their "work", yet rarely do they inspire the snooty display of dissatisfaction that you see when an artist does it.

At the least, I do think that her work inspires a dialogue regarding the validity of appropriating an animal's life for a work of art.

Again, in conclusion, I must say that you are, simply, wrong. Sorry? Please play again.

T.S. Farmhand said...

"At the least, I do think that her work inspires a dialogue regarding the validity of appropriating an animal's life for a work of art."

You say the least, I say the most. Do you think Walker Evans--or Cindy Sherman, for that matter--is a remarkable artist because his photographs "inspire a dialogue?" Or Terrence Malick?

The pictures are taken with a high-quality camera. After that, I'm not sure there is much to say about their artistic merit.

It brings me no joy to say this, but: you are, critically speaking, terribly and tragically wrong.

Mathis said...

"You say the least, I say the most."

You say tomato, I say tomato.

"Do you think Walker Evans--or Cindy Sherman, for that matter--is a remarkable artist because his photographs "inspire a dialogue?" Or Terrence Malick?"

No, they're great artists for other reasons. Not all artists have to make the same kind of art, or elicit the same reaction.

"The pictures are taken with a high-quality camera. After that, I'm not sure there is much to say about their artistic merit."

Lighting, positioning, and depth of field to name a few. It's not easy to get pictures to look that good. I used to think it was, but it's not.

"It brings me no joy to say this, but: you are, critically speaking, terribly and tragically wrong."

Further proof of your ever-apparent and slowly crippling fallibility.

T.S. Farmhand said...

Ever-apparent and slowly crippling fallibility?

Hmmmmmmmmm.

Hmmmmm.

Hmm.

As to lighting, depth of field, etc. I don't get your point. That is craftmanship, not art.

Also, the heat with which you object to my objections would seem to prove that you are, much like the artist, more interested in controversy than providing a meaningful answer to the question at hand. The question being, of course, why is this (her work) any good? I agree that it is "art," I just think it's lame art.

Furthermore, I suspect that you are gay, and possibly of mixed race.

Mathis said...

"Furthermore, I suspect that you are gay, and possibly of mixed race."

Who's on trial here?

I will concede that the word "incredible" was, perhaps, the wrong word to use to describe her work. But I do find it interesting, and would have found it interesting regardless of the avenues by which the animals found their fate.

Can we agree to disagree? Clearly we cannot, as you are a fool and a drunk, and crying out desparately for the validation of a man half your age and twice as virile.

Johnny Awesome said...

T.S. -
"As to lighting, depth of field, etc. I don't get your point. That is craftmanship, not art."

Please explain how these aspects are not art. They are all choices that must be made, and in doing so the piece is affected. Technique and craft are parts of a piece of art that are just as important as the message as they control how you convey that message to the audience. Watch a noir movie and imagine that is was lit the same as a romantic comedy and tell me that lighting is just a craft and not artistically important to the piece.

T.S. Farmhand said...

Old T.S. is getting worn down by you whippersnappers. Look, fella, if you title your post, "Do You Like?", then it would appear you are soliciting opinions.

"Watch a noir movie and imagine that is was lit the same as a romantic comedy and tell me that lighting is just a craft and not artistically important to the piece."

My point wasn't that craftmanship is separate from art--technical skill may be an important aspect of an artist's composition, but that alone doesn't get you there. Someone can write a beautiful sentence but a terrible novel. Rick Moody, for instance.

Much commercial art is extremeley well done, but still misses that X-factor (inspiration, insight, creative genius, whatever you want to call that magic dust) that turns a B movie into the Maltese Falcon. I'd be willing to bet the studio musicians in Ashlee Simpson's band are pretty good, too.

Why do I feel dumber the more I try to explain myself? I think I will stop now. The thing I care about most in any work is that it tells the truth--it's easy to get distracted by the other stuff.

Rob said...

While I lack the knowledge to explain why, I found that stuff pretty fascinating once the initial shock wore off. And I don't believe the motive behind them was shock value a la Piss Christ or that thing with the Virgin Mary done in elephant shit. Even though the subjects are all dead animals, there's something almost joyful about her work.

That said, that interview made me want to put my fist through a wall. Fucking artists.

Mathis said...

I was soliciting opinions, T.S., and I'm glad you gave yours. However, I simply responded to your post with the same tone you used originally. I believe that my greatest complaint with your position is that you dismiss her work as being childish and inappropriately "edgy", without expressing why you think that. I, of course, disagree with that reading. Also, I don't know what "truth" you're talking about, unless you're talking about the Bible. I want my art to tickle me aesthetically and intellectually, and these works do that.

As always, YMMV.

T.S. Farmhand said...

Clear the decks, boys . . .

"I believe that my greatest complaint with your position is that you dismiss her work as being childish and inappropriately "edgy", without expressing why you think that."

It seemed to me I addressed that quite specifically. The thing that seems to intrigue in her work is the fact-of-once-livingness. I can't find much more to her art than a simple contradiction wherein the "beauty" of her portraits is contrasted against the "ugliness" of the subjects' murder. So I find her art gimmicky--a throwaway irony--and somewhat offensive, while you (and others, to be sure) find it intriguing. Such is life. I say tomato, you say potato.

As for this 'truth' I'm talking about--well damn. It's the truth of everything I'm looking for, and nothing less! The lie in art is the thing that comforts and reinforces the present, or that insinuates you are smart for getting it, or that the artist is superior to his medium, or to you, or to me. The lie is that you are better than others or worse than others. The lie in art tells you I am unique. It especially makes me angry to see the current crop of artists faking it--especially since our entire culture is pretty much faking it. We live in an age of style. We are overripe and true artists are needed badly now to break down this shit edifice so that we can digest its parts and build again. As D.H. Lawrence might say, we are heading into a destructive artistic cycle (he points out Poe as a great destructive artist, as was Kafka). I am not sure why you bring up the Bible. I can only point you to the novels of Doestoevesky, Bowles, and Coetzee, the stories of Borges, Checkhov, Faulkner, Kafka, and Carver, the films of Malick and Ford, the paintings of Van Gogh, Giotto, Picasso . . . there are so many places where the truth is revealed without disguise. There are religious truths but not simple religious truths. Most people will tell you to start with the old stuff -- the Illiad, the Baghavadgita, Works and Days -- and work your way up. I am sure every artist finds his own path.

This harangue may have the tone of condenscension, but that's not my purpose. I'm trying to speak as plainly as possible and so am probably coming off a bit prickish. Oh well.

I do not agree to disagree. I disagree and hope that others will push their limits as artists and appreciators and critics of art. We are what we eat.

Indeed, MMV.

Anonymous said...

Those animals are dead?--
Elayne