Comfort Art: Abstract Instagram, Pieces of the Leonardo Exhibit, and Girl Rock
Sense: Viewed / Perspective: Whatever is the German word for equal parts comfort and intrigue
Instagram account: Emiel (@emiel_sudetak)
[EDIT 9.7: I found out after this was sent that I do, in fact, know Emiel, and that he’s my friend’s husband. I thought that one person could be aware of multiple Emiels, but I guess that is not true. Nevertheless, everything I said below still applies. I like his art.]
Two weeks ago I visited Yellowstone National Park, where there is only one type of tree and dozens of volcanic holes in the ground. Every year millions of global visitors crowd the park so they can literally be closer to steaming entryways to hell, guarded by horned beasts who will toss you in the air if you take a poorly timed selfie. I am happy that I went, and I do not plan to return.
There are art gallery/shops in and around this melding of brusque mankind and supple supernature. They generally feature highly romantic portraits of the old west, of cowboys, of bears. In Yellowstone, it is easy to find photos, paintings, magnets, and t-shirts moose in unusual positions. It is all for sale; some of it is more art than the rest, and if I were going to develop a definition of art, the galleries around national parks would certainly be a place I could start. (I would posit that anything in Jackson Hole galleries is more art than any current iteration of Mickey Mouse, but that’s neither here nor there.) For some people, the art of summer vacations is comfort art.
For me, comfort art was returning to internet access and being able to see the frequent posts of Emiel, who I found through hashtags on Instagram. An example is featured above.
Abstract art often loses luster in the lobby of the office building, but Emiel’s digital shapes have a warmth and inviting quality that comforts me far beyond overly bright food pictures. Digital cyan, the color of relaxation.
I know nothing about this artist except for the Instagram profile. I have no idea how he makes these images. The abstraction is complete, particularly in a social medium. Part of building, making, breaking up, blowing down is analyzing the intricacies of process, craft, and motivation. But I like that I know none of this when I look at Emiel Sudetak’s art. I just know that it makes me feel refreshed, makes me want to look harder.
I’ve described bad episodes of depression as “like a hard reset,” and these images are how that hard reset feels, except somehow enlightening. I see one of Emiel’s images come across my feed, and I feel glory.
Sense: Viewed / Perspective: Overt is ok when it’s bright and digital in a dark cold roomBill Viola’s “The Raft” screening at the MIA in the DaVinci exhibit
Connections: None, although several of my friends work at the MIA, one of whom helped waive my entrance fee
Overtly emotional art also makes me roll my eyes. There’s teenage embarrassment, the feeling that someone else is trying too hard. Viola’s “The Raft” is beyond overt. If you were to write an essay about it, you would get a self help book.
Tucked into a back corner of the Target Galleries, just before you are expelled into the brilliance Mark Mothersbaugh’s world, “The Raft” screens in a small dark room. The introduction reads something like “Leonardo would have loved this! It’s about the movement of water, and also he started writing about catastrophe and natural disasters later in life.” The curation was awkward, but the depth of the image and force of the video was astounding. I saw the end, then watched the whole thing from the beginning again. It’s only about five minutes and is more eye-opening than a beer or a cold press. What is so comforting about sitting cold, alone in a dark room on a hot, sunny summer weekend, watching a video of human behavior in the midst of disaster?
Comfort art works as an overly sentimental immersion. Overt emotion works when the aesthetics are just right.
The forced possibility of the rest of the “creative mind” exhibit didn’t resonate, but The Raft did. See more, know more, be open to more. Let it wash over and then recover. Think about where you are and where you could be. Stop being embarrassed by the exhibition of emotions. Embrace the possibilities of bright pixels in dark places.
Sense: Heard / Perspective: Proclaim the new anthem
“Cool Slut” by Chastity Belt
Comfort Art: a song called “Cool Slut” is my equivalent to a painting of a herd of buffalo.
Autoptic is this weekend in the North Loop (aka drinky snotty town). Will (#huzbo) will be there, and so will other artists/writers like Charles Burns, Mark Ehling and Gina Wynbrandt (she wrote Big Pussy, which I wrote about last time). If you go, I recommend that you find something cool to take home with you.
Know of any arts events I should go to, any websites I should visit, any follows I should definitely try on Instagram or Twitter? Let me know. Reply or @fightwithknives.
August 6, 2015 / Deborah Carver