Liam Everett’s “Untitled” (Teotihuacan), 2016

http://www.altmansiegel.com/exhibitions/the-elephant-calf/

 

Liam Everetts Untitled(Teotihuacan), 2016

Acrylic, enamel, alcohol, and salt on oil primed linen

153.7 x 198.1 cm

60 1/2 x78 in

(LE-F16-07)

Currently located at:

Altman Siegel Gallery

49 Geary St., ste. 416

San Francisco, CA 94108

tel, 415.576.9300 / fax: 415-373-4471

http://www.altmansiegel.com

What I saw: The journey of impressions, the painterly form and indentations of things, most likely waste. I sense the neon of Times Square, the cheapness in trinkets at all the major landmarks. I see Hello Kitty, Michael Wolfs photographic images of Hong Kong cities (http://photomichaelwolf.com/#architecture-of-density-2/5), a matrix of slightly artifaced honeycomb, litter, my French neighbor who wants to have children.

I see the spray-painted explorations of graffiti artists, the city itself, probably San Francisco that doesnt yet have the hopelessness of Americana written all over it, but I could be wrong; theres confetti, like from marriages that are just based on love, and you know just as soon as you see one, that the end is near.

No, this is the texture, what well find in a thousand centuries where human life itself is just one line in the layers of earth. Its the party store, the Dollar Store, that section of kitchenware with all the colored plastic bowls and glasses, napkins, Windex bottles, the cover of my copy of Women in Love, which is basically just turquoise and lettering: I love you S-,and thats so silly to say because the remnants of us are crushed like the word noin the last conversation. I see how you took your hand and pushed everything off the kitchen table and it fell to the ground breaking any silence and peace. It was the structure of my every effort lost by the effort of trying. I tried too hard. I littered myself with the desire for you. Yes, this is the matrosexual landscape of infatuation, the too-colorful sweater that I wore the last time I saw you and pretended not to see you.

I wasnt someone you were proud of sharing and how you pushed the paint in your fingers and made everything what it was.

I wish I had seen the car after you had put the roses. What that must have looked like before your second thoughts. Cards and crayons. In the middle of the street, someone must have seen you. Did they recommend otherwise? What changed your mind?

I already know. There was just too much pigment in my cheeks. It made you uncomfortable: Too much emotion/desperation. I looked like I was on fire, and you went Bull-in-a-China-Closet and I put small candles on the bathtub ledges and pretended I wasnt looking at you while you had your panic attack.

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5 comments

  1. I like the way you relate painting and writing. At first sight it seems you have written a kind of review about this art exhibition. Then you talk about San Francisco not being totally hopeless yet? Here I see implicit criticism on the bad things happening to America. Therefore, this word Americana has a negative meaning in this context. And what comes next… wow, that is beautifully written. It is moving, touching. The way you describe those feelings, the language you use… I need more time to think about it. To me it is cathartic but we should see what other people think. Last point: there is bitterness in the impossibility of fullfilling any love relationship, no possibility of marriages surviving when they are just based on love. Well, thank God it is not always so. I know of many marriages, traditional monogamous unions like this which are successful until both people die. It depends on each person’s experiences in life.

    • I think I am talking about relationships that began in love and then saw the horrible effect of a world that works them too hard and demands too much such that love is no longer possible and the relationship dissolves. It is social commentary, a kind of contemplative nonsensical insert to make the reader think: How is this possible? It doesn’t make sense. And you come along and fight for what should actually seem correct. Note all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work. In the background is his main character’s contemplation of not having enough to maintain the relationship. The woman sees the economic line her lover must cross to maintain their safety. So many women love men because they have a good job, are funny, kind…

  2. I only read F.Scott Fitzgerald once and that was many years ago in high school. That was certainly long ago but I think I understand the connection you are making. In a way, you men, like Gatsby, are somehow forced into the role of attracting women by giving them lots of money, extravagant things, safety… And I ask myself: what safety then? There is no such a thing in life. The clearest example now is how so many Syrian people, who were middle-class like me, are trying to survive day by day. Many have already drowned in the ocean, many others have been bombarded. This is not stopping. It is affecting all of us and changing the whole world. You and I, also many others fortunately, did not vote for those who have led us to such disaster. And many women are still thinking of the traditional security concept? The man as the main provider? Someone who sustains them? I admit in certain parts of the globe some women have no other choice but it is because of structural problems and wrong policies we need to reverse. Women, men, transgenders, everybody, we need the right education to be critical, to think. Malala is a great example of what must be done. Teach people how to fish, do not give them fish and go (well, that was a bad comparison because I am vegetarian but it’s symbolic). Where you and I live the majority of women can still choose to be free. To me it means a woman must be self-sufficient in all life aspects, economically speaking as well as a man. Just having a little amount of money for the basics. According to Catalan psychologist Rafael Santandreu, a human being simply needs some food and a roof. If we all tried to stick to the degrowth movement as much as possible we would defeat those big powers that turn us into compulsive consummerists. As a consequence of our behavior, we feed neoliberalism. I think I could never work in the field of adverstising. It is so intrinsically perverse! Brainwashing with special psychologists knowing how to trick our minds. And colors are not innocuous, I insist! International Women’s Day? It shouldn’t exist really. Today every event and talk will be symbolic but the problems are there each and every day. I love how you deal with women in your literary work. If readers can appreciate it (I think I am one who does) they will surely be able to think, feel and react rebelliously which is what you are trying to achieve. I love short story 12. I am a Paragraph (This Way…): “…the back of capitalism, a male construct, supported by women to rise above other men by enslaving them, to keep tabs on their growth and competitiveness.” And: “No, if women want to be free, they have to fight this greed and fear.”

    • The first thing you say is: “what safety then?” in the idea of men giving women “lots of money, extravagant things, safety…” to entice them. Well, money does buy happiness in a capitalist world. You can consume health care, have a roof over your head, food, a car to drive, an education, a sense of self by buying things that complement your desires and support your personality. I was in the cardiac unit for about five days, if I hadn’t had health care, that would have been impossible. I would have been dead. There is safety in that. And so on. That sacrifice men make is perhaps the most clear-cut argument I can make for them. They give from their hands and their minds and their drives are sexual. The woman they have on their arms represents their sense of self. There is such a thing as safety in America, so far. In Syria, you are witnessing a proxy war between bigger states in search of and in security of oil, where Syria plays an important roles in securing that oil for these states that are undermining the government for the sake of controlling the oil. Underlying this philosophy is capitalism, which hoards resources displaces people, who are merely pawns, cogs in the wheel of production. Men, in general, are no longer relevant in a world that is no longer manufacturing-based. 60% of higher education members are now women, who apparently relate better to the job requirements, which I believe relate to tech and service. After my heart attack, I am focused on a vegan diet. This may help me in the end financially and physically. I think, unless a woman wants to have a child, she can be free to the extent a person can be free in our/my society. I can’t speak for yours. But, are we truly free? Work here is menial, unless it is related to higher education, but even nurses, from what I saw rely on machines to check for heart rate, they draw blood and it is tested in labs, they administer medicines based on a doctor’s orders, they ask questions about comfort, get food, they seem like things waiters do. There is a monotony/repetition and regiment in the activities. Agree about advertising. Colors, as far as I can tell, are innocuous in the sense that they don’t have to be present, as in a white room or a subdued hospital room, they are not that important, in the sense that their presence would complicate rather than create rest. In other words, we don’t say when we are three, we want to be the color blue when we grow up, for example. I agree too about Women’s Day, what a joke. I think men are trying to be honest, except that they cannot but be conscious of the physical in their differentiation of the two genders. The more they realize it, a woman is no different than a man and he is no longer financially or physically at an advantage. Whatever he is, in his simplicity, as his sexually-driven self, he sees that once he satisfies his sexual needs, others arise and he is faced with himself. He is alone. Women don’t seem to need him as he has been used to providing, quite simply because he can barely provide for himself. His dreams and her dreams are tied to merely surviving. The hierarchy of needs in a huge rich-poor gap society tends to be directed to the basic needs. Entertaining a frivolous thought like a career in the arts is to kiss normal relations goodbye. You will literally die in the streets. You must somehow find a way to educate yourself in a manner that is appropriate to what companies need. And to excel in this manner means that you would have had to have been so inclined genetically/environmentally-pliable to adapt. What we are moving toward is Serfdom and in that society, women are going to be treated poorly and perhaps it is through men’s eyes that they will and have been judged. They are objectified for sexual satisfaction and unless the man, God only knows how he attracts her in the first place, has access to the satisfaction of other needs, like:

      3. Love and belongingness needs – friendship, intimacy, affection and love, – from work group, family, friends, romantic relationships.

      4. Esteem needs – achievement, mastery, independence, status, dominance, prestige, self-respect, respect from others.

      5. Self-Actualization needs – realizing personal potential, self-fulfillment, seeking personal growth and peak experiences,

      he is not going to be able to provide them to his significant other.

      The safety of the world is contingent upon a sense of safety. If people cannot meet their

      1. Biological and Physiological needs – air, food, drink, shelter, warmth, sex, sleep.

      2. Safety needs – protection from elements, security, order, law, stability, freedom from fear.

      they are going to rebel in some manner, pulling everything into the hole that is created. Even in their absence, like the Syrians, who have drown in trying to escape remain in our minds, as do the holocaust victims, as a knowledge of the capacity of man to be inhuman. Some are as close as a paycheck away from self-destruction.

  3. I think you’re gonna kill me for this: Well, I admit I was trying to provoke you intentionally into this long discussion. I love discussing things endlessly. Sorry and ten thousand times sorry. I think you will be the one to hate me in the end. Actually, I agree with you in almost everything. I am also aware of the important differences between America and Europe. In my country, although things have become a lot worse because of our economic crisis and the high unemployment rate, we can still have universal healthcare and education. A poor person can be rescued from the street, taken to hospital and be cured. Everybody can and must go to school. If a student comes from a poor family there is still some help from the government. If it is not enough, we teachers devise strategies in our school and make sure this student will have textbooks and even food if necessary. We try to help each other. We still have buildings with rooms and food for the homeless. When the government fails, unfortunately this is something that is happening more and more, we act. There are many volunteer organizations, charities, etc. However, I see all your points, also about the Syrian, the states wanting to secure oil, etc. Because of all said, I think in America Bernie Sanders should win the next election:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/bernie-sanders-defends-plan-universal-healthcare-calling-it-right-all-americans-2268674

    No doubt the rich-poor gap is getting bigger everywhere. And that is a big problem. I also see the progressive disappearance of the manufacturing-based world with lots of jobs getting lost because everything is being done by machines. And you’re absolutely right: more and more ill-paid menial work and pawns. Yes, men have problems to redefine their role in society as well as women. We are all trapped here, as you say “cogs in the wheel of production.”
    No one will ever be truly free. Until now I think I have been truly priviledged being able to be one of the freest persons in this world compared to the vast majority.

    Men and sexual needs… well, I don’t know what to say, basically agree with you, yes. I have the feeling you men need a lot more sex than women, because you are biologically and physiologically different from us. Therefore, you have different needs and also because you are afraid to lose power, self-recognition, status in society, all those things you say. A good example here, your poem Muse from A Man Looking At Women:

    “She does this for the man, who is at her level,
    As there are so many of us,
    Who wish we were that man.”

    The question of having children should always be every person’s decision, especially women’s, but it means great responsibility for the rest of your life, giving up the certain freedom you have acquired where you yourself are no longer the center of attention but your child. Children always come first and women have a lot more to sacrifice. If you have children you must give up many projects, things you are doing for others and for yourself. solidarity work, artistic/literary/scientific work, etc. Perhaps you can still do those things but the amount of time will have to be drastically reduced. In order to have children you also need to be psychologically stable to a certain extent. Otherwise, what life will you bring them? It is hard to believe but many women and men do not think about all this. Childless people are not more selfish than those with children. Some people just want to have children because:

    – they do not have many interests, therefore children fill their empty lives and they do not think much about the consequences of having a child
    – they think a child can save a love relationship, which is one of the biggest mistakes in life
    – they want to project their frustrated career onto the child. I did not succeed but my child will. Poor child, maybe this little person wants to study or do something different.
    – they want to have someone who takes care of them when they are old and dependant.

    Others, fortunately, have children in a less selfish way because it is probably a great life experience. Everyone who has children says so. It is a different life choice. Personally, I already have enough children when I am teaching a class of 26 thirteen-year-olds.

    Last point: the eternal color innocuity discussion. I must have misunderstood you a thousand times. Sorry and sorry again. I am not better at this, not so intelligent like you. What I meant, before we give meanings to colors in our society, a woman is usually in hospital and a child is born. As you very well say, hospitals are usually white because “their presence [of colors] would complicate rather than create rest.” There you go, you’re supporting my argument in favor of colors not being innocuous! (I think you are on the verge to kill me now, help!) White is a color, all colors influence us. They create emotions and reactions. Can you imagine a red hospital room with the woman and the child? They’d both get so nervous! That shows colors are not innocuous. According to psychological studies, white is the color for hospitals because it has the following positive qualities: hygiene, sterility, clarity, purity, cleanness, simplicity, sophistication, efficiency: http://www.colour-affects.co.uk/psychological-properties-of-colours

    After all this neverending text, are we still good friends or are you seriously planning to kill me? I wouldn’t be surprised. I am not an easy person, I sometimes have difficulties to understand things and, what is more, I am as stubborn as a mule.

    Please take care of your health. A vegan diet seems to be a good idea. However, it needs more careful supervision than being ovo-lacto-vegetarian which is what I am most of the time, sometimes with vegan periods.


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