Sunday, November 1, 2015

Art Talk: All TV Heroes & Saints Day

I regret and therefore rescind saying I'd blog every day in November:
it immediately put blogging in the Onerous Chore category.
I'll just stick with blogging when I want, which is almost every day anyway.

Despite the past couple posts, I'm not feeling mournful, overall--I've just been registering the change of seasons (darker, more inward). Today is bright and sunny and despite a sugar hangover, I'm in a great mood.

I'm also a mix of amused and annoyed by the paintings of Luke Butler, which I just happened across. They're fan art in the Art World.

I relish fan art's freedom from pretentiousness and commercialism.
[I worked for years at an art college, in the library, and had more than my fill of such.]
Fan culture is usually supportive and nonjudgmental (even ridiculously so)--the opposite of the snotty art world. And noncommercial fan art is often made by women.

So I'm annoyed at the hype about Butler's paintings, but still, they're kinda cool:
he isolates characters from classic TV shows falling or writhing, like Robert Longo's contorted people (hot in the 1980s Art World).

And it cracks me up that Butler chooses my Star Trek and Marz's Starsky and Hutch.
These shows are such opposites---the idealism of 1960's Trek vs the gritty realism of 1970s S&H--but everybody falls the same.

He doesn't paint diptychs; I paired Hutch (left) and Kirk (right) here:

[You know you're a Trekkie if you recognize the fight Kirk is in. I can. It's here.]

Here's the spiel from Butler's  gallery:
"Butler captures familiar icons in unsettled or awkward moments, meticulously rendering them in the midst of an unseen plight. Invoking the formal legacy of religious painting, Butler uses these ready-made figures as vehicles for genuine pathos. Isolated against a flat ground, these images emphasize their subjects’ vulnerability and humanity."
 I'd say:
Butler paints TV heroes falling down. This makes them both ridiculous and relatable--you know how embarrassing it is, to fall in public. He strips away the background scenery, so the figures stand (fall) alone. This makes them weirdly beautiful, like freeze-frames of athletes in motion, or even noble, like religious paintings of people in pain or grief. 
But the paintings' style is a take-off on paint-by-number kits, so even though they're hanging in a gallery, they give you the wink that it's OK to laugh at, or with, them. 
And while the poses aren't overtly sexy, sometimes, in the immortal title of a Shatner-fan blog and podcast, you just can't help but "look at his butt."* 
I don't know if Butler "invokes the formal legacy of religious paintings" so much he shows that these are the forms people take when someone's wounded. 

Marz recently sent me a screencap from the X-Files, of Scully and a wounded Mulder, asking what art it reminded me of. 

A Lamentation of Christ, or a Deposition from the Cross

Scully & Mulder (below, left). I chose Adolphe William Bouguereau's "Pietà" (right) (1876) because Mary's pouty lips look like Scully's (Gillian Anderson). 

But how unrealistic--try holding a big dead guy like that! More likely he'd slump to the ground.
Or Mary'd have to be braced better, hopefully in an armchair, like in this 1999 painting by Paula Rego:
Anyway, lamentations don't all look like Michelangelo's "Pietà"; often the body is on the ground.
[links to google images--there are zillions of course- depositions  too]

Butler again: left, Starsky & Hutch; right, Star Trek (not originally a diptych):


Zhoen said...

Michelangelo's Pieta is all wrong, to make the scene look right. She's got enormous legs, normal head, he's tiny in comparison. It's all elegantly skewy in a way you don't see unless it's pointed out.

You don't have to post every day. Even nanowrimo is a word count, and when I did that, I skipped days. You can post no days at all. None of this is mandatory, just an invitation to keep blogland alive in whatever way you feel up to.

Fresca said...

Yes, art distorts, to appear real!

I've enjoyed posting almost every day this year---2015 has more posts than any year since 2010.

marz said...

I have to wonder, though...Why not Starsky? He falls like a freak of nature.

Fresca said...

MARZ: YOU should paint Starsky falling!