Marcus Miers


Abstraction As Eulogy

Sometimes seeing something means not seeing it at all. It's interesting, the approach to making meaning out of something that might not mean anything. At least, nothing might not have a tangible interpretation that language can achieve. That's ultimately how abstraction is manifested in art. The experience and interpretation of abstraction is a paradox: abstraction is the total absence of something that once existed, yet definitions create meaning in the vacuum left by loss. This is where my work exists. It is in between creating substance about nonsense and absence. I aspire for grand gestures about novelty and poetry, but it's done through the lens of ambivalent absurdity.

Abstraction, and the romantic attempts at addressing its prevalence, make me feel not unlike Sisyphus because of how the mediated result will inevitably fall short. Abstracted memories, emotions, experiences, are meant to triangulate the place where the void holds its citizenship. In one sense, the abstraction is that lurching feeling that you get on the back of your head when you nearly fall asleep; the sensation of falling into some void which holds unknown threats and risk. In another, it is a slap, an old sock full of rocks across the face: palpability to the extent of caricature. A territory of enormous this-ness and that-ness, but not those others, is ripe with irony and self-contradicting attempts at honor and beauty.

I think the dignity of abstraction gains value from work about loss and tragedy. It helps us understand the extent to which we can't define the actual event of losing someone we love. It is a distancing effect, one in which we create a chasm between us and that throbbing inevitability that we hope to not have to experience again. Yet we know the rift is slowly narrowing. Like a recovering Pangea, we bind and bandage the worlds we hold close in an attempt at prolonging our own security, our invested worth in that which we have created.

Abstraction is a mediating voice in this conversation that advocates for revealing our limitations and the anabolic tendencies in the human experience. Color shows us that we can't actually see color for what it is. Materials and the societies they come from are temporary. Abstraction reminds us that we can only digest meaning in small doses. Abstraction and eulogies are not dissimilar.