Thursday, February 1, 2007

form, content, etc.

At Barbara Gladstone in Chelsea, Gary Hill’s video installation Frustrum, presents an animated eagle trapped in an oil tower. It flaps its powerful wings, loudly snapping the power linrd. The screen reigns over a shallow pool of oil, at the center of which floats a bar of gold. The inscription on this bar can be read only in the adjacent gallery, through a surveillance camera. The piece is a monument to the current American political regime.

At the Mitchell Algus gallery in Chelsea, the 1970s sculptures of Bill Bollinger represent what seems to be Hills’ polar opposite. Bollinger poured molten “stuff” like Pollack poured paint. The result is uncontrolled shapes, reminiscent of fossils and industrial detritus. The work is about (anti)form and process.

Technically speaking my own work falls more in the tradition of Hill, but, my heart is more moved by Bollinger, who made these works in at a neighbor's upstate farm, where they stand (lie) today. Bollinger died in 1988.

The question I have is about content. I consider my own work to be content-driven, but, does this fact make it more ephemeral? Can content cross eras, decades, or does it inevitably become dated. Is it really true that form is more solid, can we even say more transcendent? Can form and content be successfully combined?

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