Monday, January 10, 2011

Work in Freefall: a Deconstructive Landscape Painting by Holly Friesen

Jim Larwill in Cultural Shifts

Landscape painting historically has been directly connected to the exploitation of the environment. Paintings of Canada’s natural beauty opened up our land culturally to the phenomenon of real-estate development; from sea, to sea, to sea. The CNR and CPR as major early patrons of the arts set this trend and painting’s landscape trajectory has followed those tracks up until this very day. The message of grand vistas framed was to create pre-determined ornate views for tourists. Travel by train. Come and see. The call of nature’s vibrant raw colours, repeatedly captured on canvas, marched the masses into cattle cars. Emigrate by rail. Conquer, and then settle.

Landscape is real-estate. Paintings of the “natural” world are travelogue posters evoking a time and place that no longer exists. The world is no longer divided between the town and country. The planet is now Uber-Urban and Sub-Urban. Today within the economic “reality” of global capitalism landscape painting is nothing more than the evocation of the large suburban lot, where you know you are rich when you cannot see or hear your neighbours. It is a home in the Disney World fantasy of the individual’s natural place surviving untouched and uncorrupted by the corporate collective communism of pollution. Landscape painting is the iconic mantra of private property that lives in denial of the growing global terror of universal communism and its ever rapidly growing collective property - pollution. It spreads like an uncontrollable Stalinist storm of fire and ice across our Mother Earth unchecked.

Holly Friesen in her painting “work in freefall” captures the hope and horror of Omnigothic Neofuturism. Here the horizontal cubism of an environmental Geurnica of the groin finds spiritual threads reminiscent of feudal triptych iconography. Her images are more than just an Orientalist idealization of earth spirits. The pastiche of materials in this painting moves human energy through time and space. This heretical work of visual art has a beginning/middle/and end. Words crawl up and down the flowing spines of hot and cold like kisses of wet spent love turning the viewer’s eye into a licking tongue filled with the sensual taste of raw lust set free from the constraints of consumer society where sex is endlessly sold like bland boiled potatoes to the hungry in a spiritual famine. Pass the salt, and if I could only have a little cabbage broth on the side, then I would be apocalyptically happy.

The raven to one side perhaps says it all. We are doomed. The pure virgin dragon of scientific discourse crashes. Its face is dismembered human fertility. It flaps its angelic wings of material promise, but down it goes anyway. The moon spits human kind back down to earth. Technology is swallowed. We fossilise into a whirling dance of orality as our mouths blister with the collective lies that silences our souls. Yet the cancerous flame of our wonton consumptive desire ignites a spark. With in the split alienation of our cloven existence a fire burns deep and it will rises up like a whore of words howling in the night. The yin and yang will twist and turn. The vaginal face of a wolf will speak. The landscape will burst alive with the language of fire.

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