CRUSH ARENA SUBLIMATION
Well, if all art isn't autobiographical. Most of it, anyway. This new series of towels stem from a nasty, and crimson, incident with a bully back in high school. He hit me three times fast in the nose, in front of hundreds of people, and the blood cascaded for a few seconds, flooding my shirt, until someone threw me a gym towel. I ended up soaking it & it had to be trashed.
Not all blood is red. Not all towels have racks.
There is a much larger story here. That incident was a fragment, a significant fragment, of something much more extensive and terrible. In the future, I will elaborate when the time and place is right, but to make that story much shorter, I have through a PTSD therapy called EMDR entered a different world. It was a profound, strange experience, and I will feel its echoes perhaps for the rest of my life. EMDR is why the past is another country, though it will always border my present.
The towel paintings are humiliation and pain sublimated to art, hence Crush Arena Sublimation.
What is the Crush Arena? It is a realm where people crush other people to break their will, satisfy sadistic impulse, and secure their egos.
It’s All Blood Money, I’dnit?, 2020
Oil on canvas
24" x 18"
I want, need, love, loathe, like and fear people. These are the axes upon which my work turns.
Above is the best condensation in words of my work's reflection that I can presently think of.
I'm an Expressionist with a nod towards the conceptual and surrealism. I want my work to pass through your mind like a glimpse of people and All Things Passing. Willem de Kooning called himself a "slipping glimpser." Among my influences is my past, as art is autobiography. But Francis Bacon and Van Gogh have stained me for good. With Bacon and Van Gogh, the paint was made flesh. Bacon sobers me and Van Gogh makes me cry with and for beauty—and both birth melancholy, the Beautiful Sadness of lavender, cinnamon, sun, sea, mountain, roses; scabs, broken flesh, broken minds as All Things Pass.
Barking at the heels of Bacon and Van Gogh is Marlene Dumas. Dumas carries on Bacon's disquiet with a humane sensibility. Lastly, a basting of Goya, one of my demigods of The Enlightenment, a lantern of hope and reporter of despair and horror.
I grew up on a 21 acre hobby farm in Colorado—one supported by outside incomes—where the beauty of the land was as animated as Van Gogh's work. Among that beauty erupted sometime ghastly life and death events. Parades of troubled, troubling people and lovely people. A sense of deep time, that all this will happen over and over somewhere, somehow.
Fraught with meaning, art nourishes us and validates that zone of interaction with the world and our inner life. Art is an incarnation of the shards of our minds, even as its materials influence its outcome. Respect for the latter is crucial to my work: a waltz with the universe through my mediums and materials.
©2017 Steve Veatch all contents of this site.