‘Cosmic Traffic Jam’ @ Zevitas Marcus Gallery

July 13, 2018

The opening of Cosmic Traffic Jam was blinded by a disappointing, persistent blight of social anxieties of sexuality, gender, and race being perceived as artistic truth. As I repeatedly recount, the aim of art ought to be toward purity, toward an act of authenticating a subjective viewer through the interaction of an inconceivable creative expression, thereby ablating the subject-object division (a la Arthur Schopenhauer’s philosophy). This ablation is a rejuvenation of wonder of the experience of life and thus provides nutrition to the human spirit and its march through the typically profane waking day.


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There is art, however, that seeks to carry over the profane into this sacred rite. One of the artists in the collection, David Leggett, with his Got a Bag and A Rebel with a Glare, offers a remedial postmodernist, sardonic, effort which appears as a series more fitting for a lower division humanities course project than a fine arts gallery. The cantankerousness of the works is curtly abrasive and frankly banal when put in the inexhaustible compendium of social justice cries. The social movement is regurgitated ad nauseum with the imprints of provincial minority struggles – the heterosexual white male and the culture he has created is too boring a target by now; why not target Japanese Imperialism and nationalist arrogance instead? – as a form of galvanizing the stormtroopers to continue to persist in their discontentment. We may be sympathetic and view this as cathartic, but a stern cosmopolitan judgment can’t help but render this release as petty; indeed, the tension itself is an unhealthy wind-up to start with.


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But it is not to say that the artists and their regurgitations of tepid causes and social anxieties do not meaningfully speak to a general observation of how the contemporary culture has become. How the persistently agitated pedagogical architecture of society, e.g. the academic university, upholds the virtue of revolution and thus demands inflammation of those most susceptible to hear the faint echoes of Marx’s shouts for violent struggle, as witnessed tacitly here. Thus, most of the work here can appropriately fall under the radicalism umbrella with further appeals to homosexual and civil rights imagery-for have not these subjects been exhausted of their originality by now?-yet not with intents to edify per se as the infinitely more glorious Guernica does by extreme contrast, but to give the illusion of such, as a thirst to continue to resist perceived injustice. It is the use of the sacred to appeal negatively and not positively to the world directing the human spirit toward discontent.


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However, there was a glimmer of imaginary spark, distant from what may rudely be considered the radicalism propaganda aforementioned. Britnney Leanne Williams’ Interceding Rock is a mystical elixir; properly mind-expansive and leading to natural curiosity as opposed to fomenting rage. Her elegant stroke is with the manifestation of a nocturnal creature in an almost praying posture, sanctifying the starry night. The drapery of midnight blue acts as an almost silent cosmic acknowledgment of a meditation being answered. At the least, the integration demonstrates a cosmic sentience which implies a reverence of the creation of natural wonder. This creature may be the titular rock, but its patent organic shape testifies to an appropriate thirst: toward an eternal recurrence of harmony in the order of things.


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