AndrewShire Gallery presents Inner Battles of the Imaginary Male, a group exhibition by artists Waylon Dobson, Kip Fulbeck, Eric Johnson, Adam Schwartz, Jay Stuckey and Jonathan Wellerstein whose drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures explore the hairline links of stability to unrest.
During one of his talks, J. Krishnamurti once asked his audience: “What is the cause of the disorder in which we live?” Within a heartbeat he answered, “It’s very simple. There must be conflict as long as there is division. When I accept authority there is violence. There is conflict.” Inner Battles addresses some of the central conflicts that evolve when one assigns authority to another or when one assumes authority over others by creating division. For the purpose of this exhibition, the “other” can be just one more self-personality observed by a different delegated self in attendance as our decision maker.
Waylon Dobson’s ceramic reconstructions of war toys, work tools and ruling class relics operate in a way that facilitates the study of authority and conflict by positing new connotations to challenge traditional ones. He bolts together loose glazed and bisque-fired elements that leave us feeling vulnerable to the sheerness of human existence and its reality as possible illusion.
Kip Fulbeck’s photographs survey the actions, instincts and reactions that motivate marking the human body with ink. He hunts the male psyche through tattoos which are outward expressions of the complexities and fleeting insecurities core to being human in a screwed up society. Anyone who has been tattooed possesses his private reasons for supporting body ink, and Fulbeck allows for his subjects to enter the conversation on their own terms through the written word.
Eric Ernest Johnson’s paintings show a sweetened side of colonization and oppression in a firmly naïve style. He renders designated losers who might appear weak, even comic, to those assuming dominance, but the realities of civilization show the weak and strong to be inventions born of mortal fear traced to the power of the natural world. Johnson’s paintings illuminate the slippage between the desire to control and the unimagined resultant fates confining both the colonizer and the de-colonized.
Adam Schwartz’s charcoal and pencil drawings depict helicopters frozen in a states prompting neither motion nor development. Some seem to be caught between hanging stalactites and stalagmite formations. But this method of materializing the synchronicities between one thing and another can be envisioned by connecting symbols of failed power (crashed police helicopters) to invisible particles streaming across intergalactic flatlands to where someone dreams of soaring in a gyrating machine.
Jay Stuckey invents encounters between imagined enemies in a lively way that erodes one’s sense of right and wrong. His very adult childlike drawings and paintings of battle scenes, conquests over giant monsters and insects and islands that represent dominion fortresses jab at our urges to divide, hate, fight, win an control others. Without the real violent action that involves the forgetting of one’s humanity, Stuckey’s vast array of images dismantles impossible things like greatness, evil and war. Jonathan Wellerstein offers an interior view of the angst-riddled male psyche. His street writer style of painting depicts both subtle and violent male frustrations by providing slip-scenes of innocence played against imaginary attempts to control the outcome of one’s existence. Through informal forms of mark making, Wellerstein’s emotively charged paintings map out internal fields of memory where the ambiguities of feeling unimportant and empty are recorded as moments in time.