‘Mourning Wood in Liminal Dawn’ by Christian Rex van Minnen @ Richard Heller Gallery

December 6, 2017

(Through December 23rd)


Plato was generally anti-artistic for the reason the arts, while rendering reality in an aesthetic manner, can distort it in such a way that its misrepresentation is duplicitous, merely serving the ends of the artist’s wishful ambitions for how reality appears as and not buttressing the affirmation of the human condition. And despite the general positive gains by culture by allowing artistic liberties to expand the realm of human imagination, the price appears most woefully costly with the noxious coalescence of beauty and hideousness; that makes for the artistic talent wasteful, as in the case of this opening Mourning Wood in Liminal Dawn.


The masterful capture of light by Christian Rex van Minnen is deformed by the compositional matter, which is generally comprised of male decapitated heads appearing atop gelatinous bodies with derisive, vulgar tattooed etchings appearing on their faces. This presents the entire gallery with a daunting feeling, of veritably walking within a grotesquerie. Is this what good art attempts to accomplish?



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I return to my reliance on my essay On The Necessity of Colors in the Fine Arts to remark on the unbounded artistry that is now possible in the aftermath of the Death of God:


I speak to a time which has thoroughly released, lest I say liberated…itself from its previous phenomenological shelter, i.e. of seeing the world through sin and salvation. And now this time of godlessness enables the artist in a positive sense the ability to create however he pleases…Now, how must an artist, conceivably a master to none but himself, use his talent after paintings of realism become boring rather than challenging? I contend that to create an unrealistic rendering of reality is the actualizing of the human imagination…axiomatically we presuppose the rendering is in a beatific direction…that the world is indeed beautiful and [the] medium is reserved, most sacredly, as a demonstration of this belief to be made into fact.


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It is not that good art ought to be blissfully oblivious to human frailty, only that the artistic decision to be political rather than transcendent is a poor one as it does not refine the human spirit, it only sullies it. At best, the exhibition reviewed herein leaves a feeling of vengeful contentment at the “just desserts” by the men on display, who could possibly be facing the consequences of living blighted lives. Yet does not the fulfillment of equality of the sexes require an equal representation of females?


These works are pitifully scornful of not the human race itself, but only half of it, very suitably politically contemporary and therefore ephemeral in nature. It is parochial, in other words, and through such constricted condemning peripheries, does not provide catharsis to the general population. If anything, the works breed antagonism towards the male sex; which is diametric to tranquility and awe which is the domain of great art.


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