Monday, November 12, 2012

Statement–June 20, 2006, on Visual Art Today, first published in Po10tial Magazine, November 2011

Michael Boles, Aborealis, 2005. Aluminum, bronze, and marble. 69" x 58" x 1."
Available for purchase–please contact the artist.

The more I am involved in the making and teaching of visual art, the more I realize just how much I really don't know it. In the world of today's "cutting edge" art, the simple things in life, such as structure and composition, appear to have become dead end streets. Why bother developing the visual aesthetic of a work when the trendy belief is that the merit of today's art lies in its ability to stun? I find the whole thing quite tedious and similar to how I feel about people who enjoy making spectacles of themselves.

I am the first to admit the importance of pushing one's artistic paradigm; we as a species require change, advancement, and renovation to appease our omnipresent curiosity. We also have the tendency to make things much more complex than they need to be. As an image-maker, I also must follow those directions that present themselves to me, and as time would have it, information availability doesn't necessarily make things any easier. (Blinders don't seem to be an option!)

My personal "aesthetic charge" comes from unraveling materials and reconfiguring them into some kind of new order. The act alone is often enough; other times the substance of the work presents itself to me in a much more philosophical manner and informs me about myself. My work is meant to be looked at, not to guide, train, or shock into oblivion.

Composition denies chaos and is the basis of the physical order within which we live. It embraces us in every aspect of our society; the variety fluidizes our individual and collective self image. We live in compositions. We wear, listen to, and eat compositions. The structure imposed by composition is inescapable. As image-makers, our ability to logically manipulate structure, content, substance, and all other facets of composition is what separates us from all those other non-image-makers. The result of these activities become a language in and of itself, and falls more often than not within the realm of pure aesthetic.

As an artist, it is hard for me to imagine the difficulty faced by the artistic avant garde at the turn of the twentieth century as they wrestled with issues of art that are second nature to us today. These pioneers inadvertently developed incredibly shocking compositions, an example being Malevich with his White on White of 1918. The legacy produced by those modern artists from 100 or so years ago is still with us, and those works that we now revere in a historical as well as an aesthetic sense were produced by a breed of rebels who chose to challenge the traditional paradigm of image making. Those challenges are continuing to this day, although the borders of the paradigm have grayed considerably.

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