Friday, May 22, 2009

The Truth is Made: Artwork of Benedict Oddi

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The Truth is Made: Artwork of Benedict Oddi

June 5, 2009

The desire for freedom, escape, and exploration influence the narrative of my oil paintings. In my representations, I examine the possibilities of utopia and dystopia through the escapist tendency to create a parallel realism. The crafted pictorial environment is meant to emphasize a disconnection to a tactile reality, where by ideas and experiences are confused, allowing the viewer to assemble a personal narrative. By doing so, the work evokes a feeling of uneasiness through improbability; this imaginary voyage should feel familiar and sublime, filled with imminent danger.

My theater-like arrangements of figures in landscape are placed in situations of anxiety and peril, intervened by trace elements of otherworldliness. During the course of these works I have examined human natures, social and institutional conventions. While my reflection was approached through escapism related to utopian and dystopian philosophy, I have tried not to align with one thought or the other, but choose to respond to both concerning the nature of free will.

In analyzing my own efforts as a method to provide structure and autonomy to the inherent turmoil of vulnerable human life, the painting becomes a window, with the act of viewing involving a game. The attempt at detangling of the narrative has both the curiosity of discovery and the helplessness of a repeated history never begun. The painting then harkens the history of painting and to that of humankind, in all its injustices and failed endeavors. The act of painting from which I cannot separate myself, feels hopeless like that of Sisyphus, in my search for meaning through struggle. In Albert Camus’s influential essay The Myth of Sisyphus, the entry closes:
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain! One always finds ones burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of that stone, each mineral flake of that night filled mountain, in itself forms a world. The struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.” (Camus 123)

This where my journey begins and ends through a quest for some taste of free will. While I choose iconography and situations of peril with great significance to myself, these specific choices need not strictly inform the viewer in their interpretation of the work of art. In addition to Albert Camus, I am also influenced by the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Giambattista Vico. Other major influences include Jorge Louis Borges, Erich Fromm, Yi-Fu Tuan, Theodor Adorno, Walter Benjamin, Ernst Bloch, Giorgio de Chirico, and Milan Kundera.

Opening reception June 5th, 7 to 10pm. Exhibit runs to July 24th.

4919 Penn Avenue.Pittsburgh PA 15224


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