Jason Dodge, “White to rose light, rose to white light over and over”, Casey Kaplan Gallery
I was debating whether I would go out at all but then I saw that there was an opening for Jason, Jason Dodge. Yes, I feel comfortable enough to be on a first name basis. I saw him last spring at UW, I attended a lecture and saw his work at the Henry Art Gallery. It was like “contemporary” slapped me in the face and said - just think damn it, think! I rant a bit more about it here.
At the time and now I continue to feel like I got it… okay. In a sense… I’m trying really hard not to be a pretentious asshole here, cut me some slack. It’s abstract and provoking, it pushes me to think about everyday objects out of “ordinary” context. In essence, I smell an inevitable Duchamp connection perhaps best expressed as a post-Duchampian vibration. Art does that, at least I truly believe it’s purpose is to push one beyond everyday thought into a realm of doubt.
Check it out at Casey Kaplan Gallery until Feb. 22nd. When you do also follow my thoughts on the work:
1. Walk in. The cable, against the entire outer wall of the gallery outlines the space like a nerve. It carries electricity and light but also guides our gaze throughout the space. It’s above eye level, up close one has to look up to follow and from a far it’s hard to keep an eye on it. In the first room, there’s a chimney or heating vent system of sorts, polished reflective and laying on the side. Next to it a pillow and a set of spoons in a pipe contraption. So far, I feel at home with cables, pipes, rough exposed metals, spoons, and one pillow are reminders of my Brooklyn not-cool-but-out-in-nowhere apartment — ones’ domesticity.
2. Continue following the cable to the next gallery. Stumble across a large basket and notice the rod that penetrantes the walls across the room. Dismiss it in confusion and proceed into the next room. Take note of the nestled deodorants in the tissue boxes. Ah. Domesticity, I have tissues and deodorant too. I keep myself clean or rather I hide my odor, tears, and snot.
3. In the final gallery there’s a ladder, pink and white halogens, and two water tanks. All of a sudden, the electricity following the wire is cut then one notices the cable prongs submerged in water. It kills the lights and the core energy, the sense of a safe domestic sphere is diluted. The dim lighting in three-quarters of the room is a subtle reminder of a broken home, an empty space, hazardous while also inviting to fix it. The halogen lights on the ground set next to the ladder are a logical path to a crossroad; Are the lights being changed to be all pink or all white? Will the room dim into a fuschia or light into white? The room’s disorder is begging to be cleaned up and organized. Walk to the end of the space and find a grocery bag filled with, well, groceries.
4. There is also a grocery bag at the start of the show, I missed to take note of it but now it has come to a full encircling of a domestic scope.
5. Find Jason and ask him about the basket. It’s large, a nest, also a home. I want to be inside, be carried away in it. Where is it from? Berlin, a blind woman made it.
6. Get another beer, and repeat.
Jason Dodge, “Electric”, Casey Kaplan Gallery
Jason Dodge, “Electric”, Casey Kaplan Gallery
Jason Dodge, “Carrier”, Casey Kaplan Gallery
Jason Dodge, “A chimney pointing north”, “A lightning rod pointing north”, “The Mayor of Nuremberg is sleeping” Casey Kaplan Gallery
One takes very little time to understand our space. One takes very little time to understand the minds around us. It seems so natural to be afraid of time passing us by too quickly that there is no point in understanding. I like to slow down and realizing my surroundings and nature has been an ongoing process.
I was eleven or so, standing on the edge the balcony facing east, towards the view. The volcano, El Nevado, I’ve seen it all my life but I was only now admiring it. Towering over a city, a land, it continues to hold its royal posture today. Realizing how small one is against the world is overwhelming and I realized this then. In fact, it seems to never stop because human ingenuity has also managed to put me at awe. In terms of space, there are castles and skyscrapers as for minds; there are canvases and stimulating conversations.
Being an observer of the world allows for meditation and appreciation. My interest and magnetic draw to Native American culture is the common interest in nature, attention to life, and color. My own background is nestled in ancestral Mexican traditions, folklore, flowers, fresh fruit, and long black hair with ribbons. I am but one manifestation of the contemporary American Indian. It is a literal truth.
Now that I’m living in New York City, I’m lucky to be near the National Museum of the American Indian. I can learn more, I can see more, and inject it into my life. The bead work, the colors, and the feel of earthen clay, there is nothing else like it. Not to mention the political and cultural implications that come with iconography as it is embedded into contemporary society. I love the layers, the history, and legends. Now what is left is to share it with you.
Dude, you’re a loser and I’m a weirdo so it evens out quite nicely!