ART IS A 4 LETTER WORD Exploring the power of words and images
In the beginning was the W O R D and the W O R D was with God and the W O R D was God
Clearly society understood early on as culture developed that words were powerful. This work explores how meaning is created using words and images, the two main ways we understand the world around us and how our mind has a hard time conflating the two if they contradict each other.
Why would I want to do that? The idea for the series was sparked by my disgust at how the art world operates. Anything could be art, a urinal, debris from a dumpster, a crushed car. Where does this stop? So the first piece shows a green olive oil bottle, brush sticking out, with a tag hanging on it stating that this is ART, all standing in a clear plastic shopping bag, for sale.
The series title deliberately conflates the word ART with what society calls “four-letter words” such as FUCK. My disgust with the art world has made art a four-letter word.
This initial piece solved the problem of how I could include words in a painting. By using stenciled luggage tags I could add them as an object in and of themselves.
As I started looking into this interplay of words and images I found that four-letter words often express the most abstract, condensed meaning. LIFE, FREE, SAFE, LOST These are words we use that express a vague social construct. Are we safe? What conditions have to be created to feel safe?
So starting with the commodification of art, I went on to explore my personal identity and also our socially understood idea of meaning. The work is imbued with a bitter and sarcastic wit. I leave it up to the viewer to try and understand these pieces in any way that feels relevant to them. Distress, surprise, attentiveness, confusion are some of the many reactions I have observed.
On a personal level, I began to see that my use of an artists mannequin was a my alter ego, and also the viewers.
My intent with this work is to better undertand the human condition, by exploring the associations we have with words and images in a critical and humorous manner engaging both our emotions and our intellect.