ReSearch ReAction is a practice of visual education.  The guiding purpose is to: dissect common disciplines and acceptable behaviors within art, and to open discussions about viewing art as it relates to the viewer.  The focus is on how and why we view art through Re-Searching aesthetic interests and cultural history, and Re-Acting to why interests are chosen or avoided.  In turn the viewer should learn more about themselves and others while viewing other creations or expressions.

It’s not about the art so much as it is about you, the viewer.  The art is dependent on the viewer.  Most of todays dialogue around art may seem redundant, reused to confirm biases without being personally engaging and challenging.  The aim of Research Reaction is to develop a mode of critique and appreciation that expands the cultural significance of a body of work outside of it’s present monetary value- all to often the default critical bullet-point, in lieu of actual critical thinking- and to place it in a context of scholarly interpretation and gut reactions. In short: to give the work the careful attention it deserves. 

The goal is for people to realize their aesthetic importance, to comprehend the value in independent will and self-expression.

There will be discussions based on the artwork shown, and other contemporary topics.

August 7th 2015

Painter Stephen Cavanagh (b. 1984) references his work to, “Graphic Abstraction: a term at odds with itself, a style at odds with itself.”

A further interpretation:

“At certain points we see gossamer films of rhythmic tones, evoking figures in frenzied motion. Colors and forms seam to writhe like ribbons of fire. These are abstract paintings that seek to become figurative, graphic paintings. They are echoes of hysterical and hallucinatory fever dreams rendered static in a fluid medium.

As the mind grapples to make sense of the jumble, the images remain in flux- undulating, whirring, and throbbing with energetic force. Are these the forms of tortured animals and grieving people echoing Picasso’s Guernica? Are these images a call to arms? The experience is different for each viewer. The application of pigment creates a pictoral environment in which visions announce themselves: a sun fish, a dove, a screaming face.

For certain the images bear stylistic resemblance to Cubism, Italian Futurism, and American Abstract Expressionism. The painter shows flashes of DeKooning and later Picasso. At points he seems to channel Basqiuat: spastic and automatic movements create dense graffiti-like effects. We see abstract marks suggestive of grotesque cartoons in throes of agony.

But is there a conceptual facet? Do we see any evidence of the performative nature of being an ‘Artist’? Is this not Action Painting but instead ‘Action Painting’?” - PM

July 10th 2015

In her studio, Selene Plum (b. 1949), listens to Buddhist monks chanting through headphones, sits in a low chair crouching over her work, staying close to and still to stay focused, connecting with the materials of her process.

The work is below her, like the earth in her garden: she digs in it, plants in it, constructs and forms it.  Her art is becoming part of the earth, separating herself as a viewer, diving in it and allowing the work, like the weather, to be unpredictable yet systematic.

What does it mean to feel grounded?  When do you feel calm, or in a meditative state; not having to think?  Where/When do you find yourself most at peace?  Why would a sunset be a universal sense of relaxation (at least Western)? 

From the artists: “Over the last few years I have been exploring 2 series of work: Wisconsin horizons and frozen Lake Michigan.  I see these as alternative states of consciousness, using alchemies that are my daily journals empowering my isolation and informing my meditation.  They are metaphysical experiences rendering ice and dirt with wax and fire.

This artistic experiment hopes to capture the sublime isolation of being at one with the silent earth, transcendent moments and the religious experience with nature.”