Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Midway Contemporary Art Gallery

Sketch of Untitled Piece
Artist: Justin Thomas Schaefer
Comedy, Comedy (2009)
____One component of Comedy, Comedy, that particularly appealed to me was that of an untitled figure resembling a sort of jokerman. The piece, made entirely of fabric and sand, first caught my eye as I was walking around the gallery and happened to notice a foot and a hand on the floor. I followed the 20 some feet of limbs along the length of the wall, rounding the corner, and continuing to the next wall. At the center was the torso of the figure, slumped over, with his bright red hat touching the ground. The work conveyed an immense amount of emotion. The slouching position of the jokerman and the choice of medium, gave the impression that he was heavy with the weight of despair. That combined with the elongated limbs made it seem as though he was worn thin, tired, vulnerable, and hopeless.
____A question I struggled with upon entering Midway was, "Is this supposed to be one piece of art, or a collection of pieces?" The longer I was in the gallery, the more apparent a relationship between everything became. I also noticed that exhibit was titled "Comedy, Comedy" but none of the individual pieces had a name. This gave me the impression that the artist intended the work to be seen as a whole. Justin Thomas Schaefer also didn't provide a statement along with the exhibit, so I felt free to interpret the work as I pleased. The connection that seemed most apparent to me was that of feeling trapped in the perception those around you (or you, yourself) have created. The exhibit captured what is not always seen or let to be seen, the contradiction. The jokerman is supposed to be funny but he is obviously engulfed with sadness. He is also placed far away from the other pieces. I saw this theme fit with the majority of the works in "Comedy, Comedy." The mime is meant to entertain, but he is trudging, and cowering against the wall. The richly colored flowers are trapped behind glass and placed far out of reach. The clothing racks are dark and uniform but the light form coming from them is interesting and beautiful. I think that if the artist had put glass on top of the concrete blocks like he originally intended it would have added a lot more to the work. It would seem to signify a means to keep others out, to keep them from seeing the inside.
I really enjoyed Justin Thomas Schaefer's "Comedy, Comedy"

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