Tuesday, August 16, 2011

New James Clar

I've posted on James Clar before. He's one of my favorite installation artists, and if I'm not adoring his work (which I am, the majority of the time), I'm usually at least appreciating it. But I have to say, I just got a look at some of his most recent pieces, and I just don't like (most of) them. I've included a few of them below, with his own statements about the works. I'll let you judge them for yourself, but I'm a bit disappointed. It seems like he's been quite focused on making sociopolitical art, which I like. However, he's lost the beauty and the hush that, for me, makes his artwork powerful. By its nature, political art is often difficult to digest; the world isn't always pleasant, so why should its art be? But when the art no longer works on the pulse of that part of the mind that loves the aesthetic ineffable, it starts to suffer. I hope he finds a balance, because  I like where he's going, just not where he is at the moment.

Left Hand Cuts Off Right

134 x 30 x 30 cm
Fluorescent tube light, acrylic, dog leash and megaphone
Edition of 2 + 2 AP
Left Hand Cuts Off Right presents a power structure. A megaphone, often used in people power revolutions is connected to a dog leash which is pulled through a hoop of light. When mass groups of people organize to revolt there is someone or some group that is organizing, funding, or structuring the revolt; these are the people in power.

Up Against the Wall

300 x 70 x 10 cm
Fluorescent tube light, acrylic and kandora
Edition of 2 + 1 AP
Cities like Dubai have been able to modernize by embracing technology and globalization. The majority of people living here are foreigners and that has caused curiosity and focus on what the actual local culture is, and from the local side it has caused an identity crisis of sorts as they are now pressed to verify who they are. In this piece a kandora is held up high by a rod of light, letting you see it from far away, but at the same time it is immobilized and pressed against the wall.

**Up Against the Wall is actually the one of his newer works I like. It's quite frightening, but it's also graceful, and that's what holds you in front of it. Like its aesthetic message, it's political one is clear and unsettling, but articulated gracefully through spatial metaphor. 

Border Patrol

115 x 200 cm
Acrylic, indicator lights and wire
Edition 1 + 1 AP
A map created using indicator lights depicts two sets of information. The white lights show the areas of the world with the highest population densities, and the red lights show the locations of active nuclear missiles.

Staring at the Sun
2.5 m diameter
Fluorescent tube lights color filters, steel tube, wire and motor

Wall mounted lights with special color filters create a kaleidoscope of light. In front of this hangs an abstract geometric shape that rotates, alluding to the sun. Made from stainless steel the object reflects the light, causing it’s shape to warp and shift.

**I kind of like this one as well, but it's closer to what I know as classic James Clar. It reminds me of when you hold your fingers up in front of the sun, letting it come through here and there between the bones, black against white.

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