DRAWN & QUARTERED: A BIPOLAR FRAME OF MIND
Bipolar. Im completely unaware of how I produced so much work, completely unaware of how I produced anything. I'm a man of rapid cycles, surged with a myriad of ideas and emotions. As a man, I crave to be outgoing everyones friend, but more naturally I'm drawn into shadows. Shadows of solitude hug my social-side, but my solitary-side reflects into gatherings. I'm halved and halved again quartered, behind masks drawn round me, yet drawn to being exposed. Not wholly present, not wholly absent. Feeling more than the whole of my life, feeling incomplete.
Manic. I'm more than Unaware of how I work (So much) produced, hypervigilantly aware of everything (at work in and out of me). I'm a artist in Rapid cycles, R.cycles. Crushed Recycles. Rusted steel gauge electrified copper wound tight. Wired Round. filled with strayed images and echoes. The last four years, Ive at random spoken (Honestly). of who I Am (and) Let my artwork reflect that. There are other times (like Now). I find its hard, Am at a loss, to speak too openly(So, what) Ive offered to you, Viewer is shadowed. I've drawn a hard curtain of keys round restless juxtaposed icons surfacing beneath my wake/my slumber. Glimpse into so much stuff going on in your head that sleeps out of the question (most times) but sometimes, The safest place in the world (sleep) is an only haven.
Depressed. I am...severely unaware of how much work...I have produced...completely at a loss of where I've produced anything a puddle of black bile...anxious at how I'd have the wherewithal to reproduce...to extract these...Im a survivor of rapid cycling slowly...torn apart...drawn down...emptied into a morass of idle and erupture. For the largest part of my time...here...as a graduate student...I've questioned the idea of what a drawing is...or more so...what a drawing can be...What's out of the question...I was partial to questioning whether a drawing had to be sketched cross paper (why not in a drawer)...did it have to be hung on the wall (why not on the floor)...most of all, did it have to be drawn with charcoal...pencil...ink (why not rocks, sticks, or wire)...I ended up working with wire as a medium, because I found it most naturally translated me. I insisted on two-dimensional wire drawings to keep them from being considered sculpture...But it wasn't long before these two-dimensional drawings were gathered into three-dimensional environments...I became an installation artist...in need of sounds, lighting, and lots of fishing line to hang...the wire pieces.
I'm becoming aware of how much work is produced by the bipolar. This fire purged work from many influential artists. My influences are the same as many artists. Literally the same...the chemical anatomy. The number of manic/depressed artists is maddening. A list of considerable length. This chemical fire stretches and fragments me, draws and quarters me, drives me to the brink, drops and snatches me, lures me to the brink, drops and snags me. its a phenomena, a science, it's a fluency, it's art, its drawn and contained, fragmented and wired together.
I found out early on that no matter how much planning went into an installation, the work of art began after arriving at the location. The few days given to installing were the most trying, most exciting, and most exhausting. In this piece, I've emptied wire drawings into a space quartered behind a curtain of white Plexiglas keys to create a massive drawing approximately 30 feet by 9 feet. The piece is backlit, casting shadows upon the Plexiglas. In four days, I installed into a drawing all these wire pieces, that I somehow produced, that I created...pieces that represent me, that bit by bit have created me, finished me off...drawn into my quarters...my rapid cycles of fragmented thoughts...a mind that never sleeps.
So much perplexed preparing then waiting. Hoping someone will open the package...rip the binding...touch the keys to finish this work. I should have known—openings aren't for opening. We are scrupulously prepared—brow beaten don't touch...well disciplined disciples of the hands-off tradition. What unknown father sired this art opening oxymoron? Recurring disappointment...but no surprise to me. I always feel more to offer...let off too soon...left off inmid...leftovers. Greeted by people, glancing sidelong at me as if straightening themselves in a mirror...in lieu of seeing into me...as through a window. Imagine their surprise if they found no preconception, no stereotype to rail along. Touchlook over the edge with breathless vertigo...peek through the opening with heart-pounding daring. Stare, with insatiable curiosity, there is so much to see. Behind the translucent Plexiglas wall lies the other half of me, see me, intensely brighter, clearer, cluttered, painfully honest. A dream world of a reality, apparently tactile, ready to touch if I dare allow it. I hesitate maybe, but would never prohibit. I'm prepared, I would dare disclose a story on any given moment, for any given imagefound around or squared away.
by Joel Armstrong and Martin Nagy