"Witnessing a music performance, performing music and listening to recorded music enter the realm of ritual. They are all sacrificial acts, for the performer and the audience. In an era where the physical presence of the recorded object is vanishing, I find it all the more important to focus on its trace. These objects occupy aural space with their contents but also occupy physical space. While the recorded object is the document, the relic ; the live event is the ultimate channelization(sic) of noise, as well as the place of immediate surrender to it. In the live event, with its group catharsis, the mesh of noise, bodies and heat ; I choose to focus on the documentation of these performances."
Someone needed to type-read this thing before it headed for the laser cutter. Where was the editor to tone down the rhetoric, to undress his essentially quite simple ideas, finding actual words for them rather than made-up ones, and schooling him in the proper use ; of the semi-colon? And that’s before deciding to assert it as a work of art in itself: it looms over all, occupying more space than any other single thing in the show.
And I haven’t even gotten to the bulk of the work, nearly two dozen pieces of it struggling to cope with the warehouse-size front room, gloomily lit by one lone skylight. Did the artist and the gallery think that tossing some artsy, vaguely theoretical terms about ("trace" is classic MFA-blather) would fill the void, here only thrown into more stark relief by two abject, flimsy, derivative record sleeve constructions? One black, one white (with “Minor Threat” painted in light blue gouache – wow, so heavy), they huddle the floor, looking lost and forlorn.
Did they think that if saddled with some somber verbiage and left unlit, the poverty of the slew of painting’s surfaces would accrue some heft; that the thin day-glo Crayola marker colors would manifest some of the feeling presumably experienced by the fans and bands at the concerts they clumsily depict? You can’t bludgeon this space into submission – it’s the King Kong of galleries. Three well-placed, well-made objects could maybe tip the monster. Instead, you’re given this onslaught of mediocrity, as if the quantity will overcome your doubts. With titles like “Kill the Light (Evanesce)”, “Conquest for Death (Necro)”, “Erase my Presence (Evacuate)”, and more simply “Doom”, these feather weight doodles have all the turbulent tortured epic death metal spirit of an iPod commercial.
"Fanning the Fires (Annihilate)" 2007
also by Titus OBrien
- What gets missed - March 2nd, 2009
- Gerald Peters Gallery is dead; long li…eh, good riddance. - February 14th, 2009
- Winter Road Trip part 3: Yes Man - January 29th, 2009
- MLK Day, pomes 'n such - January 19th, 2009
- Winter Road Trip, part 2 - January 18th, 2009