Big Top, 2013 and Ceremonial Array, 2010, Perimeter Gallery, Belfast, ME

Installation view: Cartology of Recapitulation, Jest and Impeccability, 2013,
acrylic on wood with steel wire, dimensions of each of the three works varies
with installation (roughly 7' x 7' x 3'). "Big Top" April-May 2013.

Installation view: Coaster, 2013,
acrylic on wood with paper cording, size
varies with installation (roughly 13' x 8' x 20').
"Big Top" April-May 2013.

Installation view: Sugar Bowls, 2013, Banded men and boys photographs suspended in found
sugar bowls exhibited upon a acrylic banded wood shelf, 8" x 48" x 6" (each bowl 4" x 4" x 4").
"Big Top" April-May 2013.

Installation view: Inclination of the Poetic (tall leaning piece), 2010,
acrylic screen ink on wood, 144" x 6" x 40".
"Ceremonial Array: Blankets, Emissaries, Arrangements, Devices" April-May 2010.

Big Top, 2013 and Ceremonial Array, 2010

Perimeter Gallery
Belfast, ME

This show at Perimeter Gallery is a bit of a thematic departure, and then again, maybe it isn't. For years, I have been developing an architectural passage for the spirit that is at once metaphysical and metaphorical. In 2007, I began banding this "temple" exterior in studies, elevations and models. The banding, usually black and white, is inspired by the clown gods of the Pueblo People of the Southwest. Several years ago, photographer Patrick McNamara and I began a series of photographs of the ceremonial guides that would usher journeying souls through the temple passage. These men of varying ages were photographed nude or partially nude and banded in black and white with body paint. The series is titled Banded Men. Eventually the project will include banded women in red and white. Each decade in the lives of women and men, from birth through the elder years, will be represented.

The clown gods have a most curious role in the public rituals of the Pueblo People. They expose cultural anxieties in social situations by making light of things we might take too seriously even in the areas of religion, sexuality, gender or any other human social construction. They at once strike fear into all while delighting and entertaining. They are inspired and truly powerful and transformative presences.

Of late, I have come to realize that the clown gods are having a genuine effect upon my work. They have lightened up my role. I find that I continue to prepare items and guides to accompany journeying souls as they make their transcendent passages, yet at the same time, I am now creating a circus of sorts. What was once a rather mysterious, if not sacred affair, has become a delightful carnival too.

So in this show you will find acts and staging that are meant to be taken on the road. It is in a sense a three-ring circus. Elements of the exhibition reveal the wear and tear of the traveling show. Things are designed to be unfolded for setup and collapsed for shipping to the next show. There are balancing acts. I have been fabricating balls, illusions, tricks, and feats of daring. Imagine the banded guides juggling balls and entertaining while at the same time poking fun at our human foibles. The sacred and the profane are joined in this show.

Lastly, I find myself wanting more and more to simplify. The work moves between the poles of complexity and minimalism but is landing more in the minimal realm. I want the work to also function along the lines of signage, flags and pennants. I want the work to be delightful and graphic in an almost toy-like way. By the same token, I want the work to engage, to caution, and to alert the viewer. These are times for us to be aware of so much, yet at the same time, we are misguided without the levity and insights of humor and a little perspective shifting trickery.