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2016-19 Moonbeam paintings
The Moonbeam Series is a series of collaged paintings and video, made as if by Moonbeam, a fifties comics character, who reads eighties zines, cuts them up, and channels them into comically dense, interspecific, intermediate maps.
By chance I found a cache of early eighties design and culture magazines, including Domus, Wet Magazine, and Archetype, which had been published at the dawn of the AIDS crisis, Reagan/ Thatcher, environmental crisis, and perestroika. Flipping through their yellowed pages, it’s not hard to find evidence of utopian schemes, aspirational designs, vampiric ecstasies: a blend of irony and innocence. I realized I could disintegrate content in these magazines by tearing and reassembling them in large compositions, as if I were an artist from their future...an alternative, fictional future that could have opened multiple lines, perhaps many survival supply chains, as the collective authors of those zines seem to have desired. Moonbeam conjugates this anti-normotic cosmos. ‘Moonbeam’ recalls Moonbeam McSwine, a character from the fifties comic strip, L’il Abner. She took part in action of the strip as a sideways observer, always under surveillance by the other citizens of the strip. She’s outside the norm, suspected ‘whore’, a bit player, who prefers pigs to men, and claims to be the only literate denizen of Dogpatch USA. L’ilAbner glorified misogyny and xenophobia, typical of the paranoid bubble of twentieth mid- century, and so alive and well at present. This cycling seems native to social media's expressive capacities around the circulation of sexiness, shame, hiding, cutting, and outing. ‘Moonbeam’ is a gift from my mother, who, back in my high school days, used to call me Moonbeam McSwine.
Staying with the trouble – to draw on Donna Haraway – Moonbeam’s iterations are coconstituted with animal sentience: one painting maps pathways for the cougar P-22, now living in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Another blows up tiny shots of Frank Gehry’s house into a polysemic scheme involving hunting for obsidian in the Mojave. Sometimes lines mesh into phrases, copied by hand from writers working from an apocalyptic, queer, and/or science fiction perspective like Leslie Marmon Silko, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Octavia E. Butler. Moonbeam, who’d have been a sexy forty-year- old then had she still been drawn, gives access…Fighting with the culture of systemic violence releases a lot of debris, in splintered registers. The compositions interface that weird stasis-multiplicity of how we experience image fragments online.
Moonbeam, as an artistic research project, interests itself in a quasi-narrative poetics of imbrication, from within the aesthetic politics of collaging post war mass media print as well as zine culture. Imbrication is the procedure of healing via tiling tissue over wounds using overlapping skins; in geology, the description of sedimentary dispositives, with long axes of formations finding underlayment in sub-parallel arrays, leading in the direction of flow.
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