Monday, June 25, 2018

Foretelling the Past

Foretelling the Past

By Tom Wachunas

   “Picturing things, taking a view, is what makes us human; art is making sense and giving shape to that sense. It is like the religious search for God.” –Gerhardt Richter

   UPCOMING EXHIBIT – SAVE THE DATE PLEASE !! – Altared States, a solo exhibit of my work at The Little Art Gallery, on view July 19 – August 19, 2018 / located in the North Canton Public Library, 185 North Main Street, North Canton, Ohio / Opening reception on Thursday, July 19, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

   In May, I posted some thoughts about a recent 3D piece of mine that had made it into the annual May Show at The Little Art Gallery (LAG). Here’s the link in case you’d like to refresh your memory:

   That work, “Demise,” will be one of the five new pieces made this year (the other four have never been previously exhibited) which will be included in my upcoming LAG solo exhibit, opening on July 19. The show is also a retrospective, with art made in Canton over the past 18 years, and a selection of small works made when I lived in Miami (1975-1977) and New York City (1977-1991).

   Therein rests the reason for this post, and maybe a second as well. Here then is a sneak-peek at some Miami and New York stuff never previously shown in these parts. 

   I honestly can’t remember if these pieces were ever titled when I made them. This is curious if only because I’ve always believed that titles can be a vital cue to viewers in how to consider a work, as well as indicating the artist’s state of mind. A title can establish a context wherein the work can better breathe and speak. My experience of uncovering these modest experiments after their decades of being stored away out of sight (though not completely out mind) has certainly been an invigorating one.

     So for this exhibit, I gave each of these old pictures – in a way once lost and now found - a new name, hoping to somehow make a link, if only conceptually, between the past and present. Think of it as tracking genealogy to reveal a family lineage. While physical traits vary widely, works old and new in this exhibit share the same spiritual DNA.

   Pictured above, in order from top down (under the two Pickles cartoons by Brian Crane)), are acrylic paintings on corrugated cardboard panels: Corrugated Dreams # 2 (Miami) / Corrugated Dreams #4 (Miami) / Blocked Signals (New York) / and Signal Waves (New York).

   At the time these were made, I was working full-time in the pre-recorded music industry, at times a warehouseman, at times a wholesale buyer.  Vinyl discs reigned supreme in those days. Music albums were shipped in corrugated cardboard boxes, often stuffed with extra, pre-cut 12” x 12” corrugated panels used to fill any leftover space in the boxes. The sheer abundance and availability of this free material seemed perfectly suited to my aesthetic musings about altering the functionality of ordinary, found substances of workaday life to give them an intimate new purpose and presence… to literally live outside the box.  

   Or outside the book. Maybe someday I will make a novel, given my ardor for the written word. Meanwhile, you could still consider my upcoming exhibit as chapters if not characters in an ongoing story.

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