The images in my work are intended to function as visual hypertext. Umberto Eco best describes this concept as "a multidimensional network in which every point or node can be potentially connected with any other node." I use historic references, recognizable images, and real objects in my work as well as non-objective calligraphic marks and forms, which become meaningful when, placed in the context of "connection." These elements occupy a non-linear, non-representational, non-western spatial organization and are connected conceptually rather than literally or sequentially. In addition, I explore classical and mythical themes, seen through the filter of contemporary experience.
Initially, the form and content of my work is open to a variety of interpretations. Allowing this encourages the viewer to construct an arena in which cognitive awareness and primal familiarity can potentially be understood. Having this information—seeing the "self" in relation to this history—leads to the possibility of the deconstruction and redefinition of the "self" in relation to past experience.
Freed from the dependence on time and place, the viewer is able to construct an authentic personal location where he/she is free of didactic or formal controls. Through a heightened awareness of "the authentic self," the possibility exists for the viewer to be able to develop new guides for the assimilation and interpretation of both the past and present, and, possibly, to anticipate the terms by which future conditions, conceivably, could occur.
Empowered and invited to access "the authentic self," the viewer is given the ground on which to establish a new and heightened personal standard for acquiring experiential knowledge.
[My work does not provide answers but rather the material from which questions are formulated, questions, which, through their structure and richness, could bring the viewer closer to an understanding of a personal ethic and his/her individual relation to human kind.]
AVD Providence 7.16.01
Alfred DeCredico, 1995
Butoh is a dance form which achieves its power through an open and seemingly random organization of its components - it is like a conceptual abstraction, almost non-objective in its confrontational vitality. In these drawings I use Butoh as a rationale, a vehicle to explore and utilize past experience, present discovery (observation), and premonition.
– It provides me with an arena in which I can explore possibility, where all that can occur in the structuring of an image is allowed.
– It demands a heightened and acute sense of objectivity because of the numerous options which the act of making a drawing presents.
– It enables me to reference history and contemporary issues in the formation of questions that have human relevance.
Much of my work has to do with juxtaposition and consequently demands a heightened sense of responsibility to the image in order to move beyond what has become an often glib contemporary idiom. Butoh allows me to deal with the diversity of form and content that emerges in the process of my making a drawing rooted in non-objective association, without having to justify the results in terms of an accepted context. These drawings defy categorization as they cannot be fixed in the past, present, or future and yet speak to all of these states while being so much about the moment of their making. Butoh is many voices but one sound. These drawings are a refutation—an argument.
AVD Providence, 3.17.95
The End of the Hunter
Written for The End of the Hunter
exhibition at Scott Alan Fine Arts,
New York, 1993.
"Every time someone dies it is [Walt Disney's] fault."
Socially and culturally we have become androgynous. We see and read one another in a non-conscious and superficial manner. The contemporary mode is one of disenactment . The male role as the hunter—the provider in a society— is no longer valid. The female role as the mysterious locus is also in jeopardy. Role switching, for either pleasure, profit, or necessity, is a common practice and often an excuse for human inadequacy. There is an "intuitive imperative" that society as a whole, and each individual, must
Male/female interaction, as represented by sexual drive and lust, has been transformed into an intellectual perversion as witnessed by the phenomenon of MADONNA. The grip that she has on the westernized imagination is devoid of subtlety. It is a testament to the unwillingness of a large portion of society to engage in a private illusion and fantasy that grows out of interpretation and questioning, an illusion and fantasy that springs from individual creativity. We accept and make important, in a loosely critical manner, superficial observation and actions and bestow star status on those who dare to be petulant, losing sight of what true daring is.
I fear the growth of a superficial spirituality as anodyne, as a means to a collective abdication of intellectual responsibility. Society seems to require "drugs," whether pharmacological or not, to ease itself gently out of a genuine reality. We fear the instinctive and the intuitive, not realizing how critical they are to the development and growth of original voice: successive generations.
Genuine artists are in constant conflict with themselves, society, and nature. They seek the resistance, which is generated by conflict, using this as a gauge by which they test their voices. This is a vehicle for true insight.
The bravado of protest—"the politically correct"—any art that can be categorized, i.e. "feminist art," "gay art," "doggie art," is too glib a reaction to the human condition and is dangerous to true human questioning because it is, by nature, exclusive. It dictates content and allows for a bloated impersonal form, a form which is devoid of critical development. It more often than not produces easy and tedious solutions to visual questioning. "Dare" and "challenge" are no longer part of our visual vocabulary—"titillation" and "blatant" have taken their place.
A major element in my work is the examination of the line that separates male and female. Venus/vulva forms are present in my work, often in juxtaposition to forms which represent male genitalia. References to blood and bodily fluids are present in all the works in THE END OF THE HUNTER series. There are also references to death and transfiguration in the use of fur and severed animal parts. These elements come to life through their integration into painted surface. Tension, in the form of taught springs and rapid staccato lines, refer contextually to the question of sexual clash.
Blood, essential to the functioning of our minds and bodies, and other bodily fluids have in our time become substance to be feared because of their ability to transmit the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. In the painting The Contemplations of Padre Pio, stigmatic blood is presented as divine and sacred. Padre Pio's world is populated with twisted, spinning, rushing forms that refer to the cripple, the mystic, and the hunter. Here is a man frozen in an historic time whose God has bestowed upon him an honor that disables him and isolates him from humanity.
The sculpture The Baptist raises questions regarding the interaction of man and woman in a human relationship. In this case, a particular man and a particular woman—John the Baptist and Salome. The beheading of John the Baptist shows a woman as huntress and the extremes of sexuality and lust as perversion. It is not enough that Salome requested the death of the Baptist because he rejected her; in addition, she had to have the evidence of his eradication presented to her like food at a banquet. What did not please her was removed. In our society extremes of perversion are present. Call to mind the high school teacher who seduced one of her male students for her own pleasure without consideration for his youth. In the life of this relationship she required her lover to kill her husband, as if he were a sacrifice to their lust.
Mozart is about the fate of the artist as hunter, searcher, and creator. Mozart, the genius, was consumed by indulgence and the curse of his own vision—his own knowing. The beeswax in the crucible represents semen, which drips through the cracks in the side of a container used in the intense fire of a bronze furnace. Bodily fluids evacuate the child's coffin to flow back into the earth and become part of the process of regeneration. Is the fate of the artistic and creative hunter one that is about being doomed to life at the edge of society?
All of the HUNTER works are about balance and confrontation. Fiji is a simple piece that responds to this dichotomy. In that tropic paradise the enemy was brutally and mercilessly killed. In the sculpture, the image of a war club, a crushing device, is precariously balanced atop a stack of swaying, elemental, dismembered vegetal forms. The club has the appearance of pausing momentarily before pushing through the air on its way to its target.
In The Stories Men Tell the painting is intended, in part, to be humorous. The large animal horn is a symbol for a large male member. The title refers to the stories men tell of their sexual prowess. The exaggeration of sexuality in the penis form, as well as the large gaping tunnel-like vulva, proposes an animal lust and an erotic fixation. What is the culpability of our society when faced with the situations like the one which occurred in California? A group of high school boys accrued points for sexual conquests. Delicacy and tenderness in lovemaking is transformed into an inhuman joke that is yet another example of the perversion that riddles our lives.
In Julietta's Ovaries Are What Make Her a Bitch, there is the rush and gush of blood and fluids about a collection of forms that represent internal organs. This is illuminated by tubes of light attached to the canvas and wood surfaces in a "matter of fact" manner. Shadow creatures populate this world. In opposition to the violent activity and description of the right hand panel, the left panel, with its white wax and linear charcoal drawing, depicts a ballet of cartoon-like shapes. Questions of reality and fantasy confront one another physically, at the point where the proposition is presented to the viewer via the question of pictorial illusion and reality. Is Julietta a bitch or is she, like so many other women, a victim of myths. Americans seem to need an assortment of myths to live alongside.
The drawings in this body of work employ single words, which serve to identify taboos. Words like "venom" drawn over an unrolled condom, "escape" drawn along with the dismembered parts of an angel, and "nexus" floating above a tightly twisted fragment of an umbilical cord with attached fetus and half erect penis float above worlds of complex eradicated, symbolic forms from which I have drawn the shapes and forms used in the paintings and sculptures. These drawings are notations and comments—a catalogue of fears.
I am an observer.
I do not presume to judge in my work. To do so would invalidate my function as "observer".
I am a questioner.
I am a hunter in search of a symbolic world in which there is the ability for instantaneous change.
I am in search of a world with the capacity to accept and reject objectively, without grave consequences for the growth of the whole.
I am the signaler!
AVD Providence 4.27.93
© 1994 Scott Alan Fine Arts
When I am making a drawing I am continually aware of the seductive nature of the materials I use – I am careful not to succumb to their seduction while allowing them to work their magic. If materials are allowed to take control of a drawing, or if the reason for a drawing is only to explore material means, then "the serious artistic point" of the activity is undermined.
Serious DRAWING is, by necessity, about the abandonment of will and ego as much as it is about embracing them. IT is about contending with the precarious balance that must exist between these aspects of the persona and the inventiveness of the conscious mind.
DRAWING is exploration and adventure.
I draw a drawing until I am shocked by what the drawing tells me and I find myself in a place where I have never been before.
I begin a drawing not knowing where I am going and end it when the drawing tells me that I’ve gotten there.
AVD Providence, 9.20.93