September 9 – October 9, 2003
The Crocker Museum, Annual Benefit Art Auction curated by Mery-Lynn McCorckle
Lawns say a great deal about the owner. Perfect lawns Ð no stray leaves, no weeds or bugs, everything water, fertilized, manicured Ð are generally owned by conservatives (or the wealthy). This kind of perfection is about control, the dominance of man over nature. Perfection is also what advertisers sell. The perfect car, the perfect soap, the perfect attire, the perfect body. All promising perfect happiness. This perfection is also a form of control. It manipulates what others think, offering to help you manipulate what others think, while promising a control over any signs of mortality. The art selected for this exhibit explores a different kind of perfection, an attempt to achieve harmony. Perfect harmony requires a constancy not really possible in the constant changes of life. That's probably why harmony is essential in religious art and of less significance in our secular world. Art critics and historians tend to be somewhat embarrassed by any incursion of the religious, particularly western religions, into contemporary art which for the last century and a half has been expected to explode bourgeois conventions. Think of Mondrian's profound influence by Mme. Blavatsky's version of Christianity and the way it is hardly mentioned in discussions of his work. But I do think Mondrian's approach makes sense. Geometric shapes are the last of the universally recognized symbols not co-opted by advertising. They provide a way of talking about mass and energy without resorting to their ordinary manifestations. The artists in this show are not creating religious art but are trying to offer the viewer a meditative zone. If you give the work a chance, more time than the usual glance, they will try to take you to the sublime or at least offer a respite from the unrelenting haste of daily life. A place for perspective.
Mery Lynn McCorkle