leary is dead
All the Timothy Leary’s of academia have fled. Or been banished.
If I drive over paper in my truck and it rips something materialises there. So I work with the tear. And light cuts cracks con⎮ crete city walls I see it again yeah. But if I drag a screwdriver across clear perspex plate I can’t see a damn thing. So I just close my eyes. And ratty old cloth. Off the press. There lies my etched version of Huxleys’ “naked existence”.
If I sit in silence long enough all this pregnant prose (and my pretence) might make sense. But who has the time.
I run courses on technology and various forms of human experience. Students say they’re “a slap in the face”, “unspeakable trouble” and “an offer of courage”. Some say they, “made me a better person”. I hope my art does the same. I wonder if art could solve the world’s problems. Possibility and potential. Pierces. Tired eyes. I doubt it. But the thinking behind it might.
Anais Nin once wrote, “it is an illusion that will cheat us of being in touch deeply with those breathing right next to us”. It is. And it has. But philosophy routinely fails to enlighten. I wonder if someone walked past “illusion” desperately scrawled into wrecked paper would they stop pause and look back. Burroughs made em shudder Ginsberg made em howl.
I also wonder if I ⎮ you ⎮ we ⎮ often hear ⎮ and sense ⎮ and may even play some small part ⎮ in a future counter culture ⎮ long overdue ⎮ but ready to start now.
Leary be long dead. And education has failed.
So I got up and found my way here.
Queensland College Of Art (QCA)
Untitled ⎮ 01 / 01 ⎮
Byron School of Art (BSA)
148m x 210mm (A5) Lanscape.
Ink on Paper
Aldous Huxley; Anais Nin; Timothy Leary; Richard Alpert; Ram Das; William Burroughs; Allen Ginsberg; Alan Watts.
Artist statement for a solo exhibition application ⎮ QCA ⎮ 2021.
My application was rejected but the process was epic. My artist statement probably departed from being an actual artist statement the moment I started writing it. For I have no idea what they actually are. I also don’t care. And it morphed its own way into some sort of scaffold and loose set-up for my planned exhibition. As bad as it may be I envisioned in on the poster outside anyway. I’d design that too. Draw the grids by hand.
My failure here was not only justified but required. For I routinely tell students who do my courses that somewhere in between their start point and the terrible failure they will ultimately submit lies something beautiful and elegant and enlightened. And my exuberance for – and sheer delight in – my failure is honest and also a firm stance behind my own rambling rhetoric.
Process Or Piece
The mess and the wild ideas and the exquisite madness in the process is always far more interesting than the finished piece/s. Education failed me many times. But I have often failed it in return. Both mess and madness not likely to be reconciled. My only hope here is that the failure not only be complete ⎮ but utterly captivating from both sides.
To the QCA team who took the time to check it out and consider my application ⎮ Travis Paterson at BSA for teaching me printmaking and for understanding when I skipped class to finish my submission ⎮ Flannagan for the failure ⎮ Nin for the gorgeous line and foresight ⎮ Huxley for the trip ⎮ Burroughs for the offence ⎮ Ginsberg for the fire ⎮ Leary for doing whatever he wanted ⎮ All the students who put up with my shit ⎮ Alpert / Dass (Leary’s also long dead former buddy / colleague) for the enlightened approach⎮ and Watts for the only way out.