WHEEL OF FORTUNE/ BINOMIAL DISTRIBUTION OF MY 17th YEAR
November 10, 2018 6:00 pm
Joshua Tree Art Gallery, Joshua Tree
JOSHUA TREE ART GALLERY Presents works by Tom Birkner and Cat Celebrezze in a grouping of works that address some of today's inequalities of the world.
Wheel of Fortune is a portrait of the world, meant to show people in the future the truth of how we live today. Using a multitude of painted and photographic imagery, Tom Birkner presents viewers with a sculptural array that forms a visual testament to the complexities of our times – a 21st century take on e pluribus unum.
To do this convincingly and coherently, the Wheelcenters around one fundamental premise - that our era’s most important characteristic might be the growing divide between unprecedented wealth and abject poverty. “Ours is a world where one person’s net worth can increase by a billion dollars in a single day”, Birkner states, “while another earns $.50 mining coal in bare feet. Given this rather stark fact, I began by contrasting the fortunate few with the unfortunate masses.
The Binomial Distribution of My 17th Year is a work that explores the visual contradictions and dismorphia of memoria automatics. It is a series of 365 tiered lamination windows. The first tier of each window is a laminated transparency containing a binomial, a mathematical expression with two terms, represented by my two 1987 memoria automatica: the face of Ronald Reagan and an Old Milwaukee beer can. The second tier of each window consists of laminated transparent images depicting various events of 1987, some personal to me, some historical and global in impact. The third window is an opaque white plane with a one sentence text descriptions of that which my memoria automatica eclipse.
The binomial is distributed in correct mathematical sequence over the 365 individual laminations, illustrating how memoria automatica is both monolithic and false. The ghost images just below the binomial distribution conjure up that which is forgotten, screened, or elided by memoria automatica. The use of lamination, the one-time epitome of analog security now rendered moot by digital forms of security, highlights the conflict over memory and identity in the digital age. This work ultimately asks, who are we according to our memories and what strictures of limitation are inherent in that which is automatic?