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Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Blart for You

posted by on December 13 at 9:30 AM

blart-magnum-500.jpg

What it is:
Christ Town, Quincy, FL (2006, ultra-chrome ink jet print, by M. Laine Wyatt)
Where it is:
Punch Gallery

This is a sneaky, sneaky photograph. At first it looks like a randomly disheveled scene. But is it? In the folksy mural of John the Baptist and Christ, the reflection of light on the ripple of the water around Christ’s waist is painted on. But there’s also a lamp set up in front of it that confuses things visually and symbolically. The lamp appears to be clamped to an aluminum tub that may or may not hold a little body of water itself. Four levels of greenery are visible, maybe five: real plants outdoors, fake plants indoors (real plants indoors?), painted trees, and the shadows of trees cast by light coming from the window at left and from an invisible source seen obliquely in a ray on the right wall. The ray points to the hands of the two men, which point at two different versions of the lampóJohn’s hand toward the real lamp and Christ’s hand toward the shadow lamp. The shadow lamp points to the pew, which zigzags in a gesture unmistakably directed right at you.

I recommend.

RSS icon Comments

1

...and Christ's left hand is giving John a bit of a "how's your father".

Posted by yearning | December 13, 2007 9:54 AM
2

How is that in anyway cool?

Posted by Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. | December 13, 2007 9:57 AM
3

@2: It's cool if you're a pseudointellectual jackass. The above interpretation is about as meaningful as the average numerological garbage about 9/11 being foretold by the number of wrinkles on Nancy Reagan's ass.

Posted by Chris | December 13, 2007 10:10 AM
4

You show the image then tell us what is in the image. ???
I read the other day that when Shubert was asked what his piano piece meant he said nothing and just sat down and played it again.

Posted by -B- | December 13, 2007 10:17 AM
5

This reminds me of bad art in a Sunday school room. Seriously. It makes me cringe. But maybe that's what the artist is going for.

Posted by Michigan Matt | December 13, 2007 10:30 AM
6

The person who did all that arranging of elements wasn't the photographer; it was some nameless Floridian religious nut. The photo is a document, not a painting.

Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 10:31 AM
7

You'd think that the way I'm sitting here, I'm just at a messy desk with a pillow on an office chair because the foam is blown out and I have a bony ass. But actually, you'll notice that the pillow is yellow, both eye-catching yet paradoxically a symbol of caution. My coffee mug is empty - have I drank and received satisfaction, or has it yet to be filled and I sit here yearning for the satisfaction of taste and feeling awake? For if I am not awake, the disheveled appearance of my desk suggests not so much slovenly habits as it does unmistakably cast your eye about searching for a visual center, like a Where's Waldo picture. My computer is at the center, but should it be? For if I sit upon a symbol of caution, it demonstrates I am throwing caution into the wind by showing it my ass, yet I am comforted by the caution. You'll notice the Koosh ball beneath a bill, notepad and headphone wires. A few of its tendrils escape and reach upward, like a child suffocating.

I could go on and on and on. Give me a goddamn break.

Posted by The CHZA | December 13, 2007 10:47 AM
8

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Posted by Jen Graves Inner "Fuck You All, You're All Stupid To Me" | December 13, 2007 11:22 AM
9

Um, 3, 4, 7, and 8, you're aware that there's an unbroken 500-year modern tradition of describing and discussing imagery in art, right? It's not really a novelty.

Posted by Eric F | December 13, 2007 11:26 AM
10

photographs can be interesting. this one is interesting.

Posted by infrequent | December 13, 2007 11:57 AM
11

@10 Yeah, but alot of people feel it isn't interesting.

It doesn't seem conscious acts created this setup. It seems like a church has a baptismal tub and its in the corner out of the way. And some guy took a photo of it.

Wooooooo. It might be interesting if it was intentional. Some of the observations are so prosaic.

Posted by Just Some Guy | December 13, 2007 12:32 PM
12

@11, the same could be said of Atget's shop windows, or Robert Adams' Colorado tract homes. Photography's history is rich with artists who just "took a photo of it."

Posted by Eric F | December 13, 2007 12:44 PM
13

well, sure, different people will find different thing interesting... and to varying degrees. i only find it somewhat interesting. it's like the description of a normal room, which isn't interesting until you start making observations. it says almost as much about the artist and the viewer as it does the actual place photographed.

that said, i wouldn't want it hanging in my place. and i don't like it. it's merely somewhat interesting, as art.

Posted by infrequent | December 13, 2007 12:44 PM
14

Fnarf, I get the feeling you're being obtuse and retrograde for the sake of being obtuse and retrograde. Which isn't like you.

What's up?

Posted by Papillon | December 13, 2007 1:27 PM
15

The person who did all that arranging of elements wasn't the photographer; it was some nameless Floridian religious nut. The photo is a document, not a painting.


That's a strange approach to critique.

How many painters have "documented" similarly? Isn't most art about capturing a moment, in one way or another?

Posted by sharon | December 13, 2007 1:39 PM
16

No, I don't think it is.

But photography is different. Photography IS about capturing the moment, or capturing what you intend to claim the moment was. Photography is different than painting -- good photography, at any rate; stylized photography that imitates the action of painting (posed, designed, describable in formulaic painting terms) is usually shitty photography.

Good photography -- and I think this is one -- isn't usefully explicated by this kind of art-catalog description. It just is what it is. Eric F has it right; those are great examples.

If I was to find out that the photographer HAD arranged these items, it would cease to be an interesting or valuable photograph, and cease to be interesting or valuable art.

Posted by Fnarf | December 13, 2007 3:23 PM
17

I believe you all need to recalibrate your sarcasm detectors. Jen is analyzing a rather ordinary photo of a quite bland painting as if it were some masterwork.

And, I'd just like to point out that Jen forgot to note the stairs in the lower left ascending toward the light. Duh.

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