Saturday, April 4, 2009
READER SUBMISSION: "Paper or Plastic?" by N, St. Louis, Tempara on brown bag with cut string
I’ve heard quite a lot about this young artist. My contemporaries in St. Louis describe him as “Pollack meets Falling Man.” After spending a considerable amount of time with “Paper or Plastic?” I’m not so sure I agree. In fact, I’m quite certain I don’t. Where Pollack was slave to eruptions of spontaneity, N’s work is wonderfully deliberate. Even the hair has meaning: the perfectly coiffed golden wave adorned with shiny tape (sculpting gel, perhaps?) informs the viewer that this is not Obama’s everyman: this is Rush’s small government, tax-break Titan who can’t be bothered with so-called “Change.” His limbs evoke the red stripes of Old Glory; externally, we’ve got ourselves a Patriot. Yet like so many “ditto-heads”, there’s a storm brewing inside. N’s violent brush strokes and unsettling color palette depict a man at war with himself -- trying desperately to follow the path as prescribed yet longing to disappear into the welcoming thicket. And that my friends, is the no-spin zone.