Tuesday, February 15, 2011

John Feodorov (Monday Night Artist Lecture)

"Isn't it great how arty we all are?"

John Feodorov is an Assistant Professor at Fairhaven College of Interdisciplinary Studies in Washington and has been an active artist since the 1990s. He was featured in the PBS series Art21.

In the lecture he delved into his misgivings with art. Feodorov compared talking about art to talking about god. Does art even exist? We hold beliefs, defend them and attack others. As he has no belief in a god, he has no belief in art. He has no grand ideas about the artist, going so far as to describe art as his bowling. Despite this, he believes that discussing art can be useful and has spent significant amounts of time studying art theory. Feodorov's art is a working out of these thoughts.

Many of his pieces deal with the spiritual and religious pillaging of the Native American cultures. Specifically, Feodorov seeks to help create new mythologies, creating sacred spaces for consumers, displaying the disrespect as a result of that consumerism and New Age ideas. He tries to stay away with working directly with stereotypes as he feels that kind of artwork finds its value in the sustaining of the stereotypes themselves. Feodorov is not an activist, though he has respect for those artist who are. He views problems that activists address as symptoms of something greater. An image he evoked is of people plugging holes as they spring up. He wants to know why the boat is sinking.

I personally find his approach to art brilliant and inspiring. It hopefully sets up a dialog for questioning many of the assumptions we have.

Jeremy Wenrich

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