Santa Monica Airport Artwalk Review

March 28, 2018

The Santa Monica Airport Artwalk housed a few gems in an otherwise mediocre display of art produced for mere decorative sake. As mentioned before, there is a fine tug-of-war act that artists must engage in order to sustain themselves, and therefore I am sympathetic to those who love the act of creating art and are willing to obey what the market desires. I do also, however, always admire the courageous who do not bend to the caprice of mere décor and try to impregnate human culture, i.e. the collective consciousness of society, with the new from what is beyond itself.


Weeping Butterfly is such a work. It is further testimony to the elevation of photography as overtaking fine artistry in its rendering of reality, leaving painters to the realm of abstraction. It ingeniously portrays the inconceivable, something that we clearly would never encounter in our own lifetime or a thousand.


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Speaking of abstract, we have Catherine Dickson’s Untitled #2 which splendidly gives us an example of what a painter is supposed to do as photography has encroached on her previous domain. By leaving the painting untitled, Ms. Dickson gives liberty to interpretation of an erstwhile Rorschach test. Are we interpreting an emotional state or a physical state?


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Whichever the case may be, the sheer sense of dizzying motion is nonetheless provocative. I interpret it as an emotional envisage, the painted representation of a stream-of-consciousness which is angst ridden but, because of the blend of vivacity, self-determinate. This is not a morose work, nor is it sheer delirium. There is a wildness yet it is still flavored with optimistic hues. Such a work may not be eye-opening to the majority of the art world whom would consider this relatively passé, but it is nevertheless a wonderful depiction of what modern art ought to be.


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The most intellectually challenging work I found was a collection of photographs assembled into a matrix with a firm dividing line between the top half and the bottom half. The top half is saturated with individual black and white photographs of, albeit dated, a cavalcade of adolescence. The burgeoning of human potential is seen, self-conscious anxiety and all, in each of the photos. Yet something saddening appears in the bottom half. An emptiness represented by blackness and fatigued humans spot it. Though not necessarily bleak, the bottom half shows a chronology more or less, maybe even a family tree yet which is not literal. The exuberance of youth decays into the bromide of aging – which can only be hauntingly described as a dispossession of wonder with living. The irony is the self-consciousness of youth is a sign of pride and insecurity with social validation – a sign of a will to live which is abandoned with somberly with age.


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