Leisure-longing is an endeavor known by little, as it is rarely intersected with an art viewing encounter. Phenomenology, being of awareness, could be perceived as boring (possibly even more boring through its acknowledgment) though whoever it was that said that boring is counter-effective should, in this instance, reconsider. Painting is as useful as is standing in a shower until the water runs cold or stirring pasta until the water comes to a boil on its own (I mean this in the best of ways). A realization has to be made at some point down the road. Leisure as a tool for non-literal thought posits an intuitive breakthrough that these four artists have laid their collective finger on.
Upon entering Longing for Leisure, it is easy to find yourself dissatisfied with the lack of imagery with which you are presented. One sees a few larger-scale (around 4×5’) paintings to the left and back-left, a smaller-scaled work and a few vinyl prints next to and in the front two window displays. Leaving the gallery, what I can remember most of the show is that much of the work was spaghetti themed and that there was a large painting of a man who is also a ship, smoking a cigarette. In the center of the space sits an enlarged, navy coffee lid with stirrers (all produced with a CNC mill). Lastly, one is to pick up a poetic gallery text accompanied with a list of the artists and their respective works.
This poetic preface to the exhibition is important in its failure to spark any ‘interest’ on the readers’ part. One observes the space and then, confused, turns to the text to attempt to put a name to an image. We read the preface and finish, perhaps maybe even more unaided in answering the question ‘what is this about?’
Maybe we knew the answer to that question and then we forgot it, and now, at this exhibition, we are trying to remember it. In considering ‘remembrance’ and ‘awareness’, we have lost touch just as the person (who is described in the short story in the gallery text) could not remember the note inscribed on the ripped piece of paper they lost between pants transfers (even though it was of most importance to them).
A risk is being taken in that this show walks a very fine line between being ‘interesting because it is seemingly boring’, or just being ‘boring in and of itself.’ I am trying to remember what exactly it was that I saw in the show and why I found it so fascinating, but it is escaping me. This isn’t necessarily detrimental to the show as much as it is a merit to its execution; its comfort in being forgettable. The show allows itself to become a backdrop and reemerges when I’m in the shower, or cooking pasta. I think that is especially beautiful.
When trying to remember some thing, the more effort one exerts in remembering, the more the Thing escapes them. The inversion of this would be: the thing is most likely to present itself when we are not trying to remember or put our finger on it.
The moment we enter Longing for Leisure, we experience neither side of this coin but perhaps something between. We enter expecting to realize the thing that we have not yet realized. This prospective realization is unable to actualize itself through our concurrent attempts to grasp this thing. e.g. By attempting to remember the name of an actor, the further the name seems to drift to the back of your head; you realize that you need to not think of the search for the name in order for the name to naturally re-emerge.
At Longing, for Leisure, we have been assigned the task of the I can’t remember, which posits as much of a question as it does an answer (throughit being the answer to a different question than the original one (what is this show all about?), and that same answer owing its Aha!-moment from the original question itself). To jump off the diving board harder is to only be drawn further into the enigma to which this show is presenting to us. Perhaps one would have to sit around and drink beer until one remembers.
(Longing For Leisure is installed through June 20 at Open Space, 512 W. Franklin Street)