Lovers In Art: Devin Chicas & James Connors
Spindly splitting solitude
Inter iridescent inflations
Dam dinner dates
Jettison jocular juveniles
Bestowed by beasts
This collection of work is a small capsule into the life we have created. Relationships are hard but being an an artist is harder. We tried to capture the spirit of our relationship with the push and pull of what being creative and sharing our lives, emotion and work is. Being creative for us has meant that we are deeply sensitive to each other, to what we are producing and we indirectly influence our material, medium and scale. We hope you will enjoy this decades worth of love, laughter and fear.
A “slow-motion apprehension of turbulence” is how James describes these drawings. Conflating the organic with the geologic, the prehistoric with the futuristic, these accumulated references work like visual talking-points, dragging one’s perception into a transitional space between the artist’s cognitive topography and ours. An image proposes inter-subjective duration, a shared procession of time that is continually “working-towards” the impossible. Being an unabashed fan of all things science fiction, the cross-pollination of the imagined into the real (think cars and nanotechnology) has driven the imagery in James’s work from discursive bio-mechanical bodies into fractal atmospheres. Facilitating futurity through the act of image-making, these works on paper distill forms of our collective ethos into a fluid topography, allowing us to approach the impossible as mere sleights of hand. As new continents arise from the world’s fissures and quakes, “so the movement of hope – futurity, through the eye of a cyclone. All we have to do is slow it down and get a birds-eye view.”
Last Summer, in response to the direction my work was headed, I was asked how Hope can be seen in art without drawing on familiar themes of whimsy (plastic bags blowing in the wind), endurance (Waiting for Godot) and redemption (religious overtones). This is an important question because it reveals a possible impasse, a rupture, that affects how we experience art, time and action as an social and ethical matter. When I was asked this question, it was presupposed by both of us that at best hope, conventionally understood, is a productive state of longing, a wishing. But after investigating, rethinking and working through what hope is and what is does, it appears it can be much more than wishing.
The etymology of Drawing,“Dragan” means to to draw, pull and protract. It is an action, a movement that is reaching, extending out and pulling in, forms. In this sense drawing is thinking, it is an action and a state that is temporally convoluted. Prototypes and provisional forms seen in fiction and early designs display this quality best. Incomplete, unfinished and in a sustained state of incipience, models demonstrate how an extension is occurring between the anticipations of the past and what is yet-to-become real: to have a futurity. Some already have “become” (i.e, Oculus Rift, Driver-less Cars). This is hope. It is an active, turbulent succession of anticipations extending through forms, whom they themselves are left appearing incomplete, a mixture of differing durations and intentions.
In my previous work, extending a turbulent quality of anticipation is a attempted by creating formings – hopings that generate simultaneous “open-ended” implications through a decipherable bio-mechanical language. Removing hierarchy from the implied movement of tissue (a protean substance), conduits and segments in the Geomechanics of Turbulence series, enable the assemblages to have a state of extension, action, without signifying an origin, a ground for an ethos.
While continuing these drawings, provisional forms and spaces have become a new subject in my work. When one can see in a form, an order 'arising' out of disorder, such as an eye produced by a cyclone, what this means is that a multiple (chaos) is being perceived as having further become a form, a 'one,' all the while still remaining visible as a 'multiple.' Similarly, provisional forms -- through which all technology originates, and interestingly enough, transitional spaces (lobbies and waiting rooms) -- connote duration(s) spent as an accumulation of temporal vectors through which anticipations of the past “pass through.” These transitory forms and spaces have temporary formations. For example, gadgets and pop cultures time-machines and spaceships have an intermittent friction between the minute (slowing) surface detail, and the larger (quickening) whole depending on ones orientation, this “jittery furthering” is what I had attempted in Scifi DIY: Principles and Paradoxes and Hope Star.
Lobbies, like many lobbies, waiting rooms and foyer's are spaces that are metaphorically “open,” and psychologically where one “anticipates” moving through. As such they are generally relative and may lead to something else. In this sense they already acknowledged for being spatially protean and temporally undefined. For my MFA final show this April, I will alter our Lobby Gallery (formerly the annex of a Wind-Tunnel, a site for testing models of planes) into a space one just isn't just passing through, but a space where you can experience the sensation of it passing through you as a current of time, a latent “wind.” This is an attempt to produce a movement that viewers can perceive as actions taking place in the present while extended from multiple pasts, an experience that can only be seen as directed towards the future; a hoping.
Scifi DIY: Principles and Paradoxes
Modularity, appliances and Star Wars...
Cardboard boxes are a staple item in a child’s inventory of make-believe equipment, followed by tape, scissors, and ones imagination. When I was six, my Father built me an airplane in our basement out of empty boxes used to move into our new home. He carefully bended and taped half a dozen into what became a slick geometric fuselage with cut out windows, mounted wings and a door through which I could crawl and pretend I was a pilot. Apparently I was not content with his design, nor it's implied use as simply an airplane from which only a few scenarios could be imagined. I wished for something more ambitious, something that wasn’t just a prop, but an actual machine whose functions were unlimited. Although, I couldn’t decide what exactly the machine should look like. After daydreaming for weeks, I arrived at two options: A. build a two-story vehicle that I could drive to school with my future friends, comprised of separate rooms where complex machines needed to be maintained or B. construct a bipedal robot, controlled by levers from a live-in command center. I was undecided as to which project to pursue, but knew that the necessary materials to build them were sitting in our basement, currently in the shape of a plane. Scrapping the impressive, and possibly, the only sculpture my Father had ever produced for what would inevitably be a doomed DIY project, I began cutting the planes wings and contorted its fuselage into legs. It soon became clear that this wouldn't work out as planned. My disheartening realization was that I could not make something function simply by assembling objects together to look like it could. But why did it have to look a certain way? What led me to think that an extraordinary protean object could be created out of boxes, especially those already assembled into an imaginary plane? I share this story because it sets the stage for what has become a thematic exploration of hope and DIY through science fiction, entirely based on the speculation that these local phenomena play a greater role in our perception of objects and systems than may be realized.
Looking back, if one accounts for the visual appearance of robots, spaceships and other contraptions depicted in Science Fictions films and TV shows, it becomes evident that the last sixty years presents the future as not just populated with, but arrived at through assemblages. This initial observation is not unique if one remembers that Scifi's innovations share a common, yet overlooked tendency. Think of popular films featuring spaceships, such as Star Wars (1977) and Close Encounters of a Third Kind made the same year, or the robot's in Lost in Space (1965) and WALL-E (2008) as well as the tinkered marvels such as in Explorers and the Time-Machine in Back to the Future in 1985: What we are seeing are accumulations of discrete objects sharing similar methods of assemblage presented as yet-unrealized, potentially generative building blocks of the future: blueprints, if you will, in the Ernst Bloch sense of the term. Understood in this manner, the persistence of assemblage in Scifi beckons one to ask why? how has this undercurrent of Scifi DIY, which displays alternate worlds and futures in assemblages, impacted cultural attitudes about the future and creative endeavors? And finally, what other futures are latent in our collective cultural memory today, and how can they be channeled?
These questions have been dominating my artistic practice for the last five years, resulting in a series of abstracted drawings, sculptures and installations that attempt to present the turbulent yet hopeful underside of our cultures cache of supposedly banal or retro subjects. Currently these ideas are being tinkered with in my latest series Scifi DIY: Principles and Paradoxes. In this body of work, the search for a forgotten history is presented as qualities of skin and skinlessness, modularity and fluctuation, the childlike and the monstrous culminating in an irreconcilable fusion of chaos and hope...hope for an undetermined future.
Coral, cyst, sperm, spit, weeds... growth exhibits itself in many forms, whether benign or malignant, it expands its territories through either segmentation or fusion; in other words, it happens through lines and blobs. What I'm interested in is how the constraint, control and displacement of growth, prevalent in contemporary society can be confronted with it's presupposed outgrowth—its imagined ugly and forgotten past, depicted here as the organic. By materializing these abstract vestiges of organic growth, my intention is to let these forms re-inhabit our perception, restoring them from their fictional position as chthonic or abject into the resolutely generative and even hopeful. Ballooning out in vibrant plumes, or contracting into petrified crisps, these forms conflate fragility with rigidity, negating moral conclusions about its nature as good or bad. They are in the end, aggregates, linear and globular relics of the imagination that are disconcerting yet evince a quality of endurance and fecundity.