A feeling of heaviness came over me when walking into the gallery. Dark blue walls, decay, desperation, entertainment. The Midway Contemporary Art Gallery was showing Justin Thomas Schaefer's installation called Comedy, Comedy. The first things noticed were black t-shirts hanging from the ceiling, like a chandelier of consumerism. Next I noticed the painted bricks. They were closed off and uninviting. A sort of urban decay feeling was overwhelming when looking at them. Noticing flowers on the walls, they seem pleasant at first, but with further observation the realization that they're slowly dying. The ink drawing on the wall would have hope one would figure. Upon closer observation, the floral feel was evil. Within the shadows there are deformed and demonic faces. On the wall farthest from the entrance there's a clown made of fabric and sand who was stretched, depressed, just sitting there helplessly. Clowns shouldn't be so exhausted. The final thing noticed is the looping video of a mime. Mimes are usually entertaining and there was a hope for some happiness in it. It's not there. The mime's face is painted in a sad expression... he dances sluggishly going on and on. He doesn't want to be there. He doesn't want to entertain. This isn't comedy, it's tragedy.
Not knowing much about Justin Thomas Schaefer, it made interpreting his work a little more difficult. Though my view of the show is that Comedy, Comedy deals with the underlying sadness with entertainment. It's a baring of the soul's darkest feelings where it's hidden with laughter and beauty. Without delving deep observational wise in entertainment and comedy, it seems light hearted. When you really look at the subject matter and what lies beneath, it's a true sadness. Consumerism and entertainment is nothing but a cry for attention.
An Overall Sketch: Comedy, Comedy
Artist: Justin Thomas Schaefer
Installation date: 2009
Midway Contemporary Art Gallery