Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Faux what it's worth, just for the pun of it


Faux what it’s worth, just for the pun of it…

By Tom Wachunas 

  “Found objects, chance creations, ready-mades (mass-produced items promoted into art objects) abolish the separation between art and life. The commonplace is miraculous if rightly seen.”

-      - Charles Simic

   From recent playtime in my studio and my head, in a spirit of fun I offer two new releases: Rock Music, and PUN. Rescued. Repurposed. Repsychled. So to speak. As it were. If you will. In other words, i.e., a.k.a. ipso facto quid pro quo. And while we’re at it, let’s not forget ergo, non sequitur. Veni, vidi, vici.

   The guitar? Drawing a bead on wordplay. Fretting the small stuff, sentimental music taken for granite, marbleized and marvelized, pinning down rhythm ‘n clues at a fast clip, pulling on my heartstrings, wired and weird.

   And PUN? Just something I herd somewhere.

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Semiotic Scissorscoptics


Semiotic Scissorscoptics 

How To Join

Crumb Cake


American Dream

The Experience

Screaming Woman

By Tom Wachunas

“All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone...the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”  ― Marcel Duchamp

“Psychologically, our thought - apart from its expression in words - is only a shapeless and indistinct mass.” - Ferdinand de Saussure

  Semiotics (from Merriam-Webster): a general philosophical theory of signs and symbols that deals especially with their function in both artificially constructed and natural languages and comprises syntactics, semantics, and pragmatics.

Exhibit: OVERDOSE – art by Matthew Rose / at John Strauss Studios, 236 Walnut Ave. NE, downtown Canton, Ohio / THROUGH APRIL 14, 2023 / (330) 456-0300 / Hours: Monday - Friday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM /

   An American artist, writer and musician living and working in Paris, France, Matthew Rose has long exhibited his collage works, paintings and drawings throughout Europe and the US. He regularly contributes features and reviews to ArtBlog, at

    Looking for meaning and purpose in the mayhem of being alive on this beleaguered planet during challenging times, have we overdosed on Plethora? Are we comfortably numbed merchandizers and consumers, or hapless victims, of the worldly toomuchness of our own making?

   There are approximately 1,000 artworks in this exhibit – a dizzying abundance of mixed media somethings about the conditions of our existential conditions. Signs, signals, insignias, memes, messages. Many of these artaffects by Matthew Rose are collages /montages on canvas or painted boards. Threaded throughout is an aesthetic spirit inflected with conceptual and psychological elements of Surrealism, Pop, and Dada.

   Dada was a reactionary art movement born out of the trauma and hysteria of World War I. Many artists at that time rejected the nobler academic standards and practices that had governed making and viewing art for generations. Dada could be angry, cynical, ambiguous and funny all at once. It was an attitude often served up with a hardy helping of wicked sarcasm.

    Rose is something of a prolific hunter-gatherer. His weapon? Scissors. His prey? All manner of found printed stuff, both modern and vintage, mostly in the form of ads, illustrations, comics, diagrams, photos and texts snipped from newspapers, magazines, books. Extracting these items from their original settings, Rose arranges them on his surfaces like puzzle pieces.

   Some works are simple and “quiet,” joining a few images of a representational nature to a word, or phrase, floating on or embedded in a somewhat empty, minimalist-abstract ground. Others are far busier affairs – dense agglomerations of wildly diverse subjects that Rose sprinkles across the picture plane as if writing run-on sentences in a free-flowing stream of consciousness. Or conscience?

   Here’s where we as viewers intuitively seek some sort of narrative nestled in the art. We look to connect. Consequently we rummage and ruminate.  We become co-creators, co-conspirators, code-breakers, hunting for meaning. There’s no shortage of targets. Whether cryptic, cautionary or celebratory, here’s where every picture can tell a story and every story can spell a picture. Or a thousand of them.

  Who are those twin women pictured at the bottom of “The Experience?” What will really relieve their back pain? And who’s the screaming woman in “Screaming Woman?” Maybe she’s Mother Earth. Is she screaming her dismay, or her delight, at the multitude of her children’s excesses, hilarious or horrific? Maybe she’s really laughing after all. Either way, Mama’s making a lot of noise these days, and Dada never sleeps at night.

   Enjoy the hunt.