Electric blue within our eyes (John Wieners)
2020, Acrylic on prepared rice paper, 68 x 44 cm, Online Exhibit
"My current work is often called beautiful. Mostly it is not a commendation, a renowned painter recently said: they are very, very beautiful but there was disbelief, a bit of horror and concern in their voice. When people label my work beautiful it is mostly not a compliment, beauty is largely seen as easy, sentimental, feeble-minded, decorative, and meaningless – people suspect that I am a bit stupid and shallow since I make such beautiful works. I find that notion of beauty tired, trite, and ignorant – a residue from oppressive macho colonial thinking. One thing that all totalitarian, oppressive systems and thinking have in common is a negation of the tactile. When humans are transferred into words, descriptions, and data it is possible to do any horrific thing to them and to justify it. That is why I call my process empathy and alchemy, alchemy because I am a formalist in that I love my medium and I have spent 30 years getting to know it well enough to utilize the alchemy of paint and color. And empathy because the tactile is for instance the small dunes of hair that humans have on their checks, as soon as you consider the tactile elements of a human it is no longer so easy to just put them into a column and press “next”. “Electric Blue Within Their Eyes” is a tactile work, it breathes and it is alive in its beauty but it is also made on thin fragile rice-paper. The question about allyship during the pandemic is I don't know how I would have managed without CAConrads and John Wieners poetry. And also I am live in a city that paradoxically benefits from other countries homophobia we have the most interesting people here because many of them could not be at home where they were originally born."