Aaron Flint Jamison, Peeling Layers Yields Brief Openmouthed, “Oh!”
Curated by TARL
The choice to work with Aaron Flint Jamison was ultimately a result of programmatic and functional (they worked, they weren't derived from a theory that ought to work) decisions. Flint brought to the table an interest in interpretation, text, representation, construction (and deconstruction), freedom/restriction, and formal considerations. These aren't just another set of concepts to play with, in the sense of some artists using the heavy ideas and ideals of our time as the content with which they fill their vapid art-vehicle engines. Ultimately they are basic methods by which we observe and analyze our position in relation to art and art itself, making Flint a natural ally. Also important was his emotional and psychic connection to Pacific Northwest culture. While Seattle and Bellevue are not patently frontier towns, they are tinged with a still living trace of the frontier, the innate wildness of idea and place that colors the entire region.
At Open Satellite, Flint compresses bloated, overgrown rationality into a usable yet still volatile energy that is smaller and gentler, but far swifter, than before. Often momentum and movement are confused for the characteristics of grand and powerful forces, the massive invisible tides that dictate the physical flow of the world. This may be the case, but the most exciting manifestations of change and speed are often on the smallest levels. Cells, atoms, and genes are the obvious standard-bearers of this phenomenon; but ideas and even crafts can be modeled on small and agile forms.
What this art does is compress Open Satellite; the geopolitical location of Bellevue, WA; and sustainability and wildness (both natural characteristics of THIS place and THESE people, in distinction to those came around on the chic possibilities) into a single point of intensity. This point would color perception from the outside, change those who passed through it, and encapsulate a number of interrelated concepts through its use of the sustainable veneer Plyboo and the delicate techniques of weaving and interleaving. The installation is self-presenting, analyzable without reference to anything, and yet fitting simultaneously into a specific position at a specific time.
From the street, the chosen material, Plyboo (which is a thin sheet material made of bamboo fibers, similar to a high-class wallpaper), is visible yet muted, appearing only as an opaque color-change on the building’s facade. Inside, the covered windows diffuse the light, casting a soft glow onto the walls and floor of the gallery. The exhibition's function is comparable abstractly to a parasite, in that it does not contribute to a greater good or ultimate utility of solving, of improving, or of following a goal. Instead it simultaneously encloses one domain while signifying another through a kind of conceptual breathing: contraction as necessary for expansion, neither one a permanent position. The flux of atoms within a molecule is another accurate model. It is important, even after satisfying work, to remember that all things owe tribute to the small and that, in the end, the thing that is smallest of all, namely the extinction of an idea, is the most necessary. This work, too, will soon be compressed. All energies must be recycled and aimed at continued expenditure.