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Sober Madness Successes & Digressions

As a prelude into graduate study, this exhibition brought many insights about my subject matter in the forms of unsuspected praise, unabashed performance, powerful inebriation, and mild derangement. Many thanks go out to the performers, Dina Liberatore, Smellie Riot, and Kevin & Hell. With particular congratulations to Dina for three short dances well done. Her projected intent was thoroughly enjoyable to watch, as she seemingly slid out of one of my paintings and proceeded to step, swaddle herself, and imitate prayer in nothing but her naked skin and gilded drapery to somber tonalities throughout the entire space. It quickened my heart and tied together the exhibition from the front to the back and from the beginning to the close.


After setting up the display for what took much more time than allotted, my lecture was not only cut short, but also made me sweat due to computer error when the closing summary could not be found. This comes after discovering that, even though my discoveries were exciting, it would have to be reduced to half of my points - and yet still lengthy - which is promising for future study. During the speech, everyone was very attentive, although my devotions to Dionysus were proving revolutionary in my drunken stumble through the conclusion that was very shoddily written in order to deliver it at all.

What developed from my ramblings was a confession from an attendee that came for the band, but stayed for the interest in watercolor and a personal connection to my lecture subject. She was diagnosed with Bipolar 1, which entails that at some point of her life she experienced at least one manic and depressive episode. This was only brought to my attention in an email, where I was able to forward my sources utilized to form my lecture's thesis. After responding, I stepped back a little and re-think my theoretical, sociological, and theological interest in manic-depression. That there are people I may know of have met that suffer from this ailment, but have not had an opportunity to ask if their personal experiences compare to that which I study, provided a minor shift in my approach.

The most lasting feeling was probably intensified by Shiraz, when a model, searching for the third depiction of herself on the wall gave up as I pointed to "Osculatus est eam meliuscule II." Translated into English, it means "kiss it better." As I do with all my works, I asked permission to use her likeness and discussed my intentions in advance, to which she initially agreed. When the figure was recognized as herself (without telling her, she would not have made the connection), immediate derisive comments were made against my expressions of sexual frustrations with her as the (symbolic) recipient. To her, my feelings were uncouth. In some form of feminine superiority or restraint, as I understood, the instinctual urge for a "straight white male" (as she put in a negative tone) to desire the companionship and touch of somebody to convey my sexual self, or as she puts it to want "pussy," are not only shameful, but undeserved of any sort of understanding.

In short, her ("disagreement"?) with my art work warranted censorship on grounds of a predisposition against what I, as an (undesirable?) heterosexual male, should receive or even fantasize about. I have known, lived with, fully supported, and photographed her over the course of six years and yet she could not stand to see the materialization of my inner angst. Only through artistic expression or masturbation have I been able to work out my erotic thoughts. How else am I to reconcile what little amount of intimacy comes my way and under what creative pretense does she have to direct my work? To quote Robert Crumb:

"We're constantly trying to do what's socially right. It's hard to break out of that in your actions in the world, let alone in your art. Art, hopefully, is one place where you can get away with that, breaking away from those things and revealing something deeper. I have to let that stuff out, it can't stay inside of me: all the craziness, the sexual stuff, the hostility towards women, the anger towards authority...You're taking this chance by doing something more personal." (Crumb, 70)

Her outward and astounding denial of what was plainly in front of her could not have been more infuriating. My art is there, however graphic, and cannot be denied. It entirely reflects our naturally hedonistic temperament and rejection only strengthens my resolve to be more explicit in identifying and painting new works closer to the truthful nature of my sensuality. As I encourage others to imitate through a direct representation of what most people hide away, more dialogue and higher "spiritual" consciousness could connect people in very positive and revealing ways.

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