Garth Simmons is submitting the following artwork to the Barbican
Trust Art Prize 2014. He has added his own thoughts to this process in
the smaller italic text though I advise the reader to ignore this. The larger
text that you are reading now is more academic, impartial and all in all an
attempt to make this article less disconnected from the personal
politics and thoughts of the artist. Once art is viewed by the public it is no longer the possession of the artist. Words of the
artist should not dictate and dilute what the artwork itself conveys and the
artwork should be able to speak for itself allowing the viewer's interpretation
of the work to take absolute precedence.
Unfortunately the typical viewer of art cannot be trusted to always have a worthwhile or valid opinion. So Art Historians like myself are required to skew
your perceptions so you think exactly what you are supposed to think therefore creating a consensus opinion which can then be taken as fact. I
will tell you, the viewer, what is the best opinion to have. Please feel
free to share my conclusions as if they are your own. You will be able to
massively impress your friends with your intellectualism.
I've made some larger artwork again.
One of the many joys and benefits of being unemployed is that you get
more time to be creative. I also get lots of time to stare into
nothingness. Unemployment has allowed me to adapt my life into an
impenetrable (or less penetrable) self contained compartment. I now
live in a concrete bubble of furniture and disarrayed objects and I have to
schedule my own days to make them as productive as possible. Productivity
can be very difficult as it is tempting to just have a really good stare into
space. Last night I smoked about five roll ups whilst watching the
Greatest Moments of Billy Mitchell from EastEnders on YouTube. The pursuits that sidetrack me don't have
much relation to real life aside from doing my fair share of job hunting,
interviews and psychometric tests, aside from this I don't tend to interact much with the real world or keep up with any news. Whilst I have been in my compartment planes have been
disappearing and an entire schools worth of Nigerian girls have been kidnapped
and turned into slaves. The world continues its criminal spin outside my window
and in all my spare time I have done nothing to intervene. I have simply
been having lots of fun and expressing my inner spaces through my collage and
pattern making. I have been incredibly self serving.
This piece is called ''Vocalization of a
Broken Chasm''. It's a quintessential Garth Simmons artwork perhaps a
culmination of various themes that Garth has been exploring for the past few
years. Marrying the convergence of lines towards a central point with a vaster texture of self generated notebooks, drawings and prints. Conveying his usual rootless existentialism and attempting to
convey a large sense of everything all at once. It has no real context in
collage history and is more in line with 1950s Abstract Expressionism but Garth
has not contextualised his sources appropriately and therefore this bears no continuity with previous works of abstraction. For example, Pollock achieved his expression
through movements of his body interacting with the paint and the brush creating honest sweeping expressions from within. This is not
achievable with the primitive art medium which is collage, Collage is sticking and pasting. The expressionism that Garth is attempting to
adopt into his work is completely false. In many of his writings on this
blog Garth claims he is just making things up has he goes along. This leads me to conclude as fact that Garth's cognitive
artistic ability is less of that of a chimpanzee putting the right shapes into
the right slots on a psychometric test. Therefore I assume that Garth's creative abilities
and talent are a fallacy. He could be consider an outsider artist if he had not studied art at University, so due to this contradiction critically I can only conclude that Garth is never an artist or an outsider but more on a dull interloper caught between the working and the middle class. A sad product of the 1980s miners' strike in Yorkshire. If not for Margaret Thatcher Garth would be working respectably as a coal miner.
There have been periods of keeping this blog that I have written
posts every week just to keep the notion of myself alive and to make it appear
that my creative persona really was something of importance. Both my
persona and person are very important to me and I exist somewhere between the
two of them so my internal world is pretty complicated. An awful lot of
self analysis, like a DVD commentary is playing inside my head and criticizing
the way I run for the bus or fry an egg. I do wonder if everyone thinks
like this and has discussions running back and forth between their multiple
aspects. I have tried to relate this experience of separation to people
and see if multiple threads of thoughts of sustained in other people’s heads.
Although obviously everyone else has their own unique way of thinking.
Their consciousnesses are just as multi layered and important and I do
recognize that each and every living thing has the potential for complications
in their sensations. We are all mostly complicated personalities (except for
Billy Mitchell, he's straightforward, redeemed, salt of the earth and
fictitious). We are also all separated but somehow glued together through
a huge shared experience that is life.
This piece is called ''Internalized Spread''.
Garth is using his cut and paste collage techniques to create an
impenetrable wall of his own confusion and chaos. An attempt to express
uncertain chaos. I must apologize for the quality of this photograph.
Due to being largely unsuccessful and not having adequate finances Garth
resorts to photographing his artwork with his mobile phone in his back
garden. Therefore lacking the professionalism, commitment and resources of a proper artist.
Our lives all have internal complications; we all intersect very
badly like crappy bent jigsaw pieces. Abrasive and never fitting
permanently, just sort of sticking together for a few seconds but never forming
a complete picture.. We all live within an environment that is THE WORLD
and that links us all together so we can all have something to talk to each
other about, but the world also makes us all different and we all have a
different angle and viewpoint on the world dependent on our positions... that
much is obvious. These days I see the world quite nicely through my
living room window as I make artwork and sell patterns and make big pictures to
submit to exhibitions. The world outside to me is big green trees and a few residential houses and gardens. Nothing bad really breaks
into this bubble. I don't have to spend two hours a day on public
transport wishing I was going somewhere different for once; I can stay exactly
where I need to be. This makes me feel guilty and complicit and I dislike
my lack of involvement but I do get to make lots of artwork and get a lot done,
though I will be getting a job again soon, I don't have the finances to really
exist in this way indefinitely. Not yet anyway...
This piece is entitled ''Dilation of
Inefficient Sparks'', produced in 2012. Garth had advice from a friend back
in 2010 to title his work less floridly and to simply use the title to describe
what the image looks like. This has allowed Garth to find the naming of
imagery much easier, but it hasn't helped with the floridness of his titles. I do get the impression that the use of language in Garth's work make him feel clever and interesting. The use of the ''inefficient'' in the title is referring to the badly structured yellow elements in this picture, how they don't really convey sparks and contain no observation about the real physics of sparks. This shows that Garth is at least self aware that his work doesn't quite measure up to even his own standards of aesthetic. Worse still is the fact that he readily admits his laziness to better his creative approach in the title of this picture.
I do dream that one day I will have the
finances and free time to do whatever I like. Not so I can live in an
internalized self imposed but productive bubble of existence but so I can
actually expand that bubble into the outside world. Somehow make all my
internals into externals. Like vomiting on the world I suppose. I
know that doesn't sound very nice but it's an apt metaphor. I hope to be
filled so full of finances that it makes me sick with money and I have to puke
it all up all over existence, leaving collages and patterns everywhere.
Selfish? Perhaps not. With the ego, money and recognition I'd
attain I could feed all the homeless, I could eliminate third world debt
and solve the Bermuda Triangle. Or perhaps I should just build a bigger concrete
bubble, where me and my cat can sit and pretend the outside world doesn't
exist. Whatever the choice it sounds very ugly and unbecoming. This
is the problem with self awareness and therefore self analysis. You take
a thread of yourself and pick at it until it becomes something bad, leading
myself to all kinds of self doubts until you yourself become something ugly.
In my case I've turned my potentially lovely and successful future self
into some money bloated ego freak puking all over existence whilst gleefully
and condescendingly throwing pennies at homeless people. Somehow I doubt this
is going to be my future. This is good. The best benefit of self
awareness and self analysis is that it allows you to understand the processes
of how your mind works. You can even enjoy a little bit of self parody.
Though the problem with self parody is it's difficult to understand where
the self parody starts and ends. It's difficult to always be able to tell
when I'm joking or not, especially when I'm tired.
I would not say that I wish Garth Simmons
luck in his future. As an Art Historian I am not here to make wishes but
to dictate and cement facts for future reference.