David Eustace’s recent exhibition, Project For Canal, is a literal litmus test that offers evidence from the field of the state of the environment.
Before hanging in the pristine remove of the gallery at the Brooklyn Artist’s Gym, Eustace’s canvases were suspended in the Gowanus Canal - absorbing a fetid, fecal/industrial stew that makes it one of the most toxic bodies of water in New York, no kidding. Imploring corrective action to recalibrate the human relationship to Nature, these canvases are landscape paintings in the most direct sense.
I was fortunate to snag a touring spot on the 21-seat canoe with Ludger Balan of Urban Divers. After a sober warning of the dangers of coming in physical contact with the water, Balan led us on a fascinating expedition: The storied history of the Canal, components of its harrowing toxic brew and the potential that a revitalized canal presents to Brooklyn and its wildlife all figure into the tale.
Balan’s take away point was that the time for clean-up is right now – before further development hinders its likelihood.
While rowing across the freakishly still surface of the canal, thick rubber gloves averting any chance skin contact with the water, I was aware of the false security of localized prophylactics.
As we learn in school, our bodies are mostly water. Given the hydrologic cycle and the permeability of tissue, the canal is literally flowing through our veins. We may protest or yearn to find remedy in NIMBY- not in my back yard – strategies. But as Eustace’s work reminds, it’s all backyard.
Not only is April 2008 receding into the past but, with relaxed eyes, its monthly palettes appear to recede into the computer screen like one of those 3D magic eye posters - offering proof that depth perception as well as beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder:
For some weeks now, some of you have been asking, “Where has TINSQUO gone?”
Today, if you’ll permit me a moment of meta, I’ll explain the recent absence of posts:
In an alleged effort to improve efficiency and security, my webhost upgraded its server to a new platform and, in the process, eradicated my ability to post...anything…for over ten weeks.
From the start TINSQUO has been dedicated to tracking the forward edge of studio activity – the idea being that the overarching process of an artist’s evolution is a work in and of itself.
Since we launched in 2003, I’ve gone light on including too much in the way of my quotidian biography because 1. I figure it’s necessarily represented in the work and 2. Biographical information can be an obscuring illusion that precludes a viewer’s opportunity to approach each work as a primary experience of one’s own perception.
But I would like to express my gratitude to all those who reached out to see if I was OK. Thank you. I am moved. Fortunately, I did not fall off the face of the earth – just the digital version of it. The reason why is quotidian in the extreme.
The technical explanation for this disruption – as far as I can gather – is that they relocated the MySQL database to a remote server and, for a long time, were unable to adjust my Movable Type blogging software to account for this new reality. Fortunately, I was an indefatigable squeaky wheel and – despite being told point blank that such a thing was impossible – eventually obtained the necessary fix.
In the interval, work on the oil painting Joan of Arc Riding My Little Pony moves forward. Presently all the elements are in place at a preliminary level of finish.
Also, for mysterious reasons the YouTube video of Canyon Ascent embarked on a rapid acquisition of new viewers – on average about 500 a day for 9 days or so. Thereby garnering the dubious distinction of being targeted by the infamous swarms of YouTube haters. (Now, in response, there is a sort of “kindness backlash” underway. The forces of light and darkness battling it out on a YouTube message board).
Finally, in some inchoate way I’m getting the sense that this unplanned digital holiday will turn out to be a blessing – a disruption of the status quo. I don’t know yet what I mean by this, but going forward: “Welcome to TINSQUO Version 3.0.
(Why 3.0? In the dusty prehistoric blogging epoch of 2002 I launched the first iteration of what would become the current TINSQUO. Little remains of this ancestor which was parked at the proto-trendy super long domain of THEREISNOSTATUSQUO.com. A few choice relics persist on this site though in the Thank You Project and Thread Of Remembrance.)