Friday, October 26, 2007

You can put the cat in the oven...and dream it's a biscuit.

The paintings of Erica Svec are juicy and free, and tantalizing surrealist. She uses imagery, recognizable in form but contextually out-of-place. This contextual ambiguity is different from the language-content ambiguity I so often espouse. The content-content juxtaposition demands consistent language, and the out-of-context ambiguity of two clearly discernible (and utterly exclusive) objects or events.

Are they mutually exclusive? They can be mutually inclusive once divorced from reason and the logic of the outer world. This contextually juxtaposition exists most naturally in our dreams, hence Surrealisms connection with the ream state (and use, vis a vis Jung et al) to explore this terrain.

And what of the consitent language? Erica Svec is inhereting the langauge of painterly abstraction as much as she is the surrealist leanings of Dali and Picabia, and also more recently Elizabeth Murray and others. She paints recognizable objects (here a chair, there a bed) and also paints unclear objects (are those wings? bacon frying?) with a simplicity and certainty that urges us to accept them as objects, doubts begone. Her painting is clear, bright and strong, with a solidity that recalls the great muralists as much well as Matisse. That her language is loose and 'abstract' is true, but I feel her explorations to be in imagery instead of language. Her imagery, bold and out-of-context, is in the small vein of a long, and rational, tradition.