Untitled, Part of "What's Left to Ponder?" Series of Assemblages on books
Acrylic, stain, frame, sand, resin, foam, egg shell,comic, string, found metal and nail on book
"The entire "What's Left to Ponder?" ongoing seriescame about in a few ways. Firstly, it was the title ofa 3-man show I did with Jason Sherry and TimMcCormick at Thinkspace in LA and Voice1156 in San Diego. I was looking for a title that, on the surface, seemed deep and penetrating, but was really just a cleverly stolen line from one of my favorite movies, "Zoolander." As the debunked Derrick is staring at his reflection in a puddle, he poses the age-old question: "Who Am I?"...The emerging Hansel ("He's so hot right now, Hansel") responds rhetorically with the nonchalant, nomadic title phrase as he scooters by, chick in tow...
This is the human question, and therefore, the ultimate art question. These themes can be found in seemingly "low" culture in such films, and in other "high" forms such as "The Love Song of J. Afred Prufrock." In T.S Eliot's 1915 poetic masterpiece, Prufrock asks "Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?" So,without any further intellectualized jerking-off, that is the origin. Art should ask who we are, as individuals and as a collected people; if you can throw a bit of love and humor in the mix, you may have something. But who knows. It’s all everything and nothing at the same time, and I think that’s the whole point. I am intrigued by how many books are written that are never read. I figure these pieces are another way to share discarded books with people, while telling a different story through someone else's "words". I seal the books to create a good strong surface to work and build from, and I've noticed something done out of necessity for process both intrigues and frustrates people. It constantly reminds me that part of searching for answers should frustrate us, and no matter how far we probe (or more aptly "ponder"), certain mysteries will always remain.
In this particular piece, which came about over a few weeks of mania-induced art forging, I tried to make art in this delicate middle. I had the idea of framing the egg in a book, but it wasn't until the walk home from the thrift store that I found the metal and nail...and it just clicked in my head and I knew where it had to go.The original piece had a whole egg, but when it fell off the table and crushed, I accepted it as a happy accident, and realized I had really wanted to explore the inside of the egg all along. So I fabricated it to look like a fossilized remnant with a mixture of sand, scraps of text from the book and foam (I even painted little white veins from which the red veins emerge).The red strings wrap around the book, and penetrate the sealed pages.
My goal in this series is to make new relics, and their meanings and symbols are to be studied and decoded as an archeologist would. Or, they can also be jokes a comedian is trying to string together for his act. Are they religious, and are they homage or offerings to a deity? Are they old, and does their antiquity give added value? And if it’s new and fabricated, what value does it really have? Are there inherent meanings in that they are books or are they meaningless artifacts, remains of someone from somewhere? Or, like most things, is it all just overwrought bullshit? Can it exist as nothing more than an object/idea that takes itself too seriously on one end, and tongue-in-cheek on the other, in a world that is simultaneously absurd and reasonable?"
By Joshua Krause