As the headlines of yesterday's news outlets screamed "Mayhem" I had an inner conflict churning within. Watching the heartbreaking images of Boston flash upon my computer screen left me to consider the definition of the term:
- the crime of willfully inflicting bodily injury on another so as to make the victim less capable of self-defense or, under modern statutes, so as to cripple or mutilate the victim.
- random or deliberate violence or damage.
- a state of rowdy disorder.
The personal struggle over the headlines stem from the opening at Arc Gallery on May 4th, where my piece Rage and Love will be presented as part of the National Juried Exhibition "Mayhem." The curator invites guests to "Join in our madness, mischief, and monkey business with the aim to create pandemonium, chaos, and discord. Let the mayhem begin!"
I would like to consider the show much more a mimesis than presented in Oscar Wilde's famous quote "Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life." Wilde's comments were centered around a beautiful and hopeful perspective rather than a rowdy and disorderly position, yet it does beg the question of where, as artists, we find the depths of our inspiration.
The work that went into Rage and Love was a cathartic process in order to make sense of the madness over California's Proposition 8. In the months that led up to the November 2008 election there were masses of insults, justifications and religious epithets thrown against sound arguments of love, connectedness and equality. This piece counters Wilde's statement. As an artist I chose to take life and turn the chaos into art.
As the mayhem of Boston slowly recedes, but the spirit of those who were lost or harmed not forgotten, my hope that something inspiring can rise from the destruction, as was evident in watching the heroes who came to the rescue of the harmed and injured. That in itself was an example of life imitating the beauty, the better side, of humanity.