Sunday, September 17, 2006

Supermarketism - CHARLIE TRIVERS

Dynamic Supemarketism - Composition Number 10, 2006
painted Steel - 2.5 x .8 x .8m
courtesy of Defiance Gallery Newtown

I once was a mature 30 year old Hawkesbury old boy art student with no art training including high school and an interest in painting. My paintings prior to art school were largely narrative based with an emphasis on the environment, consumerism, capitalism, scientific method and rural issues. I had a lot to say without a clear idea of how to say it. My first art history lecturer assigned the class a number of non objective painters to research. By pure luck I got Malevich. I ther
efore discovered a form of abstraction with a hint of illusionism that I was comfortable with. Malevichs mysticism did not interest me as much as his background. He was a painter who like myself had rural origins which is evident in his early work and through his contact with CuboFuturism developed a uniquely sophisticated abstraction.

My presentation to my more knowledgable classmates (which I presumed and found out later to be incorrect) on Malevich was a complete disaster. I made the mistake of calling Suprematism Supermarketism. My peers thought I was having a joke and laughed as I disguised a mistaken pun. I have always liked a good pun so I kept that one aside for a later time when my work was more developed to deal with it.

I got distinction averages in art history after that event. And all jokes were no longer accidental.I eventually followed a post modern path in addressing the issue of erosion by making eroded historical Australian/European landscape paintings. I particularly liked Glover and made many Disgloverys. As you can imagine my work became more and more three dimensional. And so I finished my degree with a major in painting making sculpture about painting about painting etc about etc. I read a lot more than what was required when it came to Post Structuralist thought. I was particularly attracted to Baudrillard and his America for Disneyland metaphor. Derrida deconstructing his text and his obsessive use of artists words in particular Cezanne to rationalise art I found annoying and pointless. But I came away with a pretty good grounding in history/theory. The artist that interested me most then and even now is Duchamp. He is the ultimate thinking artists artist. Luckily my painting lecturer was a sculptor and she encouraged me to study post graduate sculpture to get a handle on the more formal aspects of sculpture. What I found fascinating was that once again I was dealing with artists who were again worked with geometric abstraction. They were absorbed by composition and how it would viewed from all possible viewpoints. I also stored this away for a later time when I had time to experiment.

After a few years of experiments and tangents and blind alleys I came up with the idea of the Fishbottle. It was a response to a stormwater pipe that led to the ocean at the Boot at Bondi. This spawn ideas for five exhibits at Sculpture by the Sea. The Fishbottle evolved as an idea and a species from the design of PET drink bottles. Conceptually the idea dealt with readymades, consumerism, packaging, pollution, scientific method, high art/low art, serious fun, value and truth in and to materials and everything. But all ideas have a limited life span and the Fishbottle offered few formal sculptural possibilities.

I have had (until recently) a great title for a new artwork called Homage to a (Supermarket) Square and until recently no new artwork to go with it. I wanted to incorporate the language from fishbottles with the (anachronistic or not) Modernist language of spatial geometric abstraction. Homage to a cube meant a homage to six squares in a cruciform with a Suprematist like design applied to it. I have thought of fishbottles and cruciforms and religion but I may keep that aside for another time.

Malevich described Suprematism as 'a hard cold system set in motion by philosophical thought'. I have approached Supermarketism in a similar way. Firstly I start by deconstructing a cardboard cubic box. I am presently working on Pizza Boxes and am working on a Dynamic Supermarketism Supreme Pizza Box Edition.


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