I love irony. It's one of the most basic yet versatile tools an artist has. James Green works in stone lithography, a printing method founded upon our earliest awareness of stone carving and image making. In his recent works, including an exhibition entitled In Defense of Thingness at Eastern Washington University, Greene explores the paradoxical state of image making.

From his statement: "What are we to make of a culture that considers digital books to have an infinite lifespan but considers stone tablets obsolete? If anything, stone tablets have more than proved themselves capable of survival into the future, while my digital photo files of only 5 years ago are a challenge to maintain and retrieve without some kind of digital corruption or data loss.
For this exhibition, I consider our current technological moment while working with my hands to produce objects that stand out specifically because they are obsolete. I have grained and leveled 12 long-forgotten lithography stones (once used for commercial printing) in order to reinvigorate the value of satisfying craftwork and careful execution needed to perform this obsolete technological process. The objects depicted are things I either own or regularly use to perform tasks. All of them have been outstripped technologically, but all of them represent things that have proven successful at surviving into the future. These objects reflect a humanness and concreteness that is bound specifically to the interest they hold as things. "

He also works in photography, prints and installations. I won't get to his show at EWU before it closes December 10, which is too bad because I was just talking with one of my editors about the lack of exhibitions showcasing truly contemporary art. And here's one of them (that won't get covered locally, unfortunately).

While it's not the kind of work I can immerse myself in the way I like to with narrative art, I appreciate the conceptual depth and challenge. It's this chicken/egg approach of the thing versus the image of the thing versus the making of the image versus the potency of the thing within our visual lexicon. The image above, for example, is a blower used for making fire. As Greene mentions, this is an object that has remained fairly unchanged over time. Not many objects can be regarded as such; there's such a bent to revise, improve, technologize.

For more mindblowing, check out his website at Valuistics.com.


James said...

Hey thanks so much for writing up my show! You can find images of the installation at valuistics.com now. I've gone ahead and added a link of your writeup to my blog. The show has also involved a discussion element, with gallery talks/discussions happening Thursdays at noon until the exhibit closes. The conversations have been taped and will be made available in a variety of media. I'd love to have a show here in the Inland NW of new work and if you know anyone who would be interesting in exhibiting work like mine, please let me know. Thanks again! JG