The Well-Diggers’ Triptych at Arts Center of the Capital Region

A piece written about this show by the juror:

By Nato Thompson

I sat drinking and did not notice the dusk,
Till falling petals filled the folds of my dress.
Drunken I rose and walked to the moonlit stream;
The birds were gone, and men also few.
– Li Po

Abandonment is both a blind personal journey and a collective urban condition. In the ever poetic often distracting realm of the existential, the self must eventually face the horrific vacuum of time; a moment inconceivable, fascinating and cruel. Many an artist, poet, and moribund creature stare intently into the gothic wormhole of their destruction and find in it, as Kierkegaard said of death, a wonderful dancing partner. That dance often takes on a grace, magic and edgy moodiness that brings to life a faint shiver of welcome breath.

The city, on the other hand, is oft-haunted by the threat of tumbleweeds, faulty braces and off-shore international finance. These terrifying signs that a small town once home to the laughter of barber shops, bars and factory work, will soon sink into its own shadow and crumble, disparagingly, back into the earth. The tempting fetid forest, the dirty ephemera, the faded photo, the beckoning crypt, the lost letter… Is it all that surprising to find such sentiment haunting the art work of those outside the booming megalopolis of cities? Are we not all entering the darkened wood, edging ever closer to the suffocating blindness of abandonment?

In the heart of abandonment, we find shimmery light. We find magic. We sense the moon, the stars, the Wiccans and the waste-oids, all find solace in the heart of post-industrial purgatory. We find shamanistic antler horns cobbled together from post-industrial detritus. We find the key to evolution encrusted in ceramic. We find psychedelic wanderlust and iconographic Grimm’s Fairy tales. We find headless horses battling it out against the sky unable to tell day from night.

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