Wednesday, January 11, 2012
A Little About My "Unknown Unknowns" Show, Coming to the Cult Status Gallery on March 23, 2012
“There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – there are things we do not know we don't know.” -Donald Rumsfeld, 2002 I’ve been fascinated by the concept of the Apocalypse since I was kid. There was something weirdly romantic about the whole idea-- you know, traversing a barren landscape alone in a suped-up car, wearing a helmet with cool spikes on it and all that. The passage of time, however, eventually teaches us (cruelly) that we all must acknowledge our limitations at some point. So, when the Shit hits the Fan, I’ve had to admit to myself that I would wind up accidentally eating some expired yogurt and dying from food poisoning within the first few weeks. No super car for me, is what I’m saying. The Miscreants of Tiny Town series started, in part, as a way to satirize our culture’s unfounded fears of/perverse desires for Armageddon, but this particular iteration of the series, opening at the Cult Status Gallery in the Spring of 2012, might seem like it’s finally coming to terms with the sad inevitability of it. While my narratives become more complex, the skies are getting rustier and my landscapes are getting scabbier. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to tell whether the stories take place in the day or night, as the sun appears to be slowly snuffed out by a thick, sooty fog. Throughout this “Unknown Unknowns” show, some figures have even broken free from their landscapes altogether, and are left to participate in an invisible story set against stark, bare walls. Since The Miscreants of Tiny Town emerged as something of an unintended side effect of the bleakly surreal world we’ve been plummeted into by the equally surreal War on Terror, it has often served as an attempt to both channel and mock the metastasizing paranoia caused by constant dire warnings of coming and/or current global catastrophes. They’re playful, satirical jabs at those nagging reminders of the fact that the varnish-thin securities and comforts we’ve been taught to take for granted are also directly responsible for our own impending disasters. But as I’ve slowly been able to build my life around the production of these characters and stories full-time, the work has also become parodies of my inner monologues in a way. They’re my own little Friar’s Club, “roasting” that formless cloud of anxieties and keeping it from getting too high on its horse. So here we are, at the dawn of the dreaded 2012. Yet, after being confronted with years of grim portents and spooky omens, we can take comfort in the knowledge that the world will be just as chaotic and terrifying as it’s always been next year. So if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s around to hear it, big deal. Let all of the things we do not know that we don’t know fall right along with it. After all, an apocalypse can’t exist without survivors, right? There’s hope in that, somewhere.