Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Get Your Mind Out Of The Gutter


This is an Impatien viewed close-up. That’s all, but I know what you were thinking. It is the rare person who does not immediately think of the secret parts of the human form. Our second thought is, “Oh! Wait a minute - that’s a flower!” So, why is it that our response is “get your mind out of the gutter,” as if our first thought is a shameful place to be? Psychotherapists have made fortunes declaring answers to that question. I’ve been working on a project composed of macro shots of flowers and their intimate parts, the parts that jump out at us and make us squirm. There’s nothing subtle about it, either. I choose the most provocative elements, because they stir the moment of unrest that I want to evoke in the viewer. I want to shove you off your mark, to disturb you. Why is that? The simple answer is that it gets attention; the deeper answer is that I want to stand out from the crowd. I confess that I have always yearned to be somebody, though my secret fear is that I'll conclude my life in banal mediocrity. My intense dread motivates me to learn to do a lot of things, too. I belong to a photography focus group where progress on individual projects is reviewed and discussed. It has irked the hell out of me when presenting my project, that the frequent response is ‘Oh ya, like what’s her name………O’Keeffe, ya, Georgia O’Keeffe.” NO! Not her, me! Georgia O’Keeffe was wrongly accused. Art historians claim she did not intend her paintings of Calla lily pistils and labia like Hibiscus to be construed as pornographic. It was her husband, Alfred Stieglitz (ironically, a photographer) who promoted her work with that language. In fact, those works are not representative of her work overall, but simply those that are most popularly recognized. And why is that? Because, they are the works that jolted the masses, not her more subtle, complex abstractions. They are the works which scream to the thing that we all have in common, our bodies and its urges. So, that’s where I decided to start - no disguises, no fans, no feathers, no bubbles, just unabashed posy porn. I chose an impatien as my opening piece because they are possibly the most ubiquitous bedding (see, there you go again) plant. They take shade and full sun. They live confined in containers or sprawling on the ground. They reseed prolifically, mutate readily, survive neglect and outright abuse and come in every possible color. They are simple, beautiful. They may not be the most complicated, but they are the best known, the Barry Manilow of the flower world. I’ll take that kind of recognition. Unlike Georgia O’Keeffe, I’m not beating around the bush.

1 comment:

  1. With regard to the “flower”. I was taking one of those” rorschat” ink blot tests from an industrial psychologist when I was trying to get my job at Union Mutual back in 1971. Yep! Up comes that picture! So I gulped and told him that part of the human anatomy that I saw. And now I was committed so I told him each ensuing picture was a part of the female anatomy. Either I was going to get the job or get sent off to Pineland as a “prevert”. Thankfully, I got the job although I hear the ice cream at Pineland is pretty good now a days…k

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