Unbalanced Ledgers: Tilted Field, Duane McDiarmid

Unbalanced Ledgers: Tilted Field.

A solo exhibition by Duane McDiarmid.

Reception: Thursday, February 13 4:30-6pm

Duration of the exhibition: February 13 – March 13, 2020

Artist Bio —
Duane McDiarmid is a sculptor, performer, and cinematographer who teaches at Ohio University School of Art in the Sculpture and Expanded Practice Program.

McDiarmid has:

Created a blanket dispenser for the homeless in New York City • Fed the public ice-cream from a solar work embellished with high tech gizmos assembled on remote deserts sites across the American southwest • Bathed in used motor oil in a wetland swamp • Worn a French-Court inspired wig of script describing the pleasures and powers of luxury while traversing mountain passes and deserts with a Mr. Coffee pot and an entourage of assistants • Dressed as a ‘Gimp Skunk’ to discuss American foreign policy and personal failings • Reconfigured western-saddle gear on an Arabian horse in into ‘I dream of Jeanie’ inspired garb • Created opportunities for bears to play the accordion in the John Muir Wilderness area • and is deeply engaged in making custom objects for those un-favored by law.

Artist Statement —

Broadly on my Practice

Art has served people as a ‘medicinal vision’ used to examine and ‘heal’ the collective condition for centuries. My work, built using the technologies, materials, and economies of my era, seeks to function in a manner akin to this ancient tradition. I seek a complex mix regarding complex societal realities— I presume our collective condition is best described collaboratively using slippery poetics that allow us to laugh at ourselves and celebrate the contradiction-laden whole of being a human family.

So my studio practice most often begins with the recognition of a personal or social ailment some ‘tick’ that irritates a path towards something principled or enlightened. I try to conjure and create experiences that are parallel to what I or we are already doing–but I reconfigure these acts as to allow them to slip away from where we are blocked by our vested positions regarding defined ‘issues’–slip away from our habits and acts that normalize and thereby block individuated seeing and being ‘seen’.

The resultant constructions are usually as much event as object and unlike most traditional ‘Western’ art my works reside as ongoing participatory projects—they are unfinished when they leave the studio and are launched evolving in both content and form as they are augmented through interactions with the local or a series of locals. I’m always thinking, exploring ways to invite participation–How might sweet treats, wiz-bang technology, riots of color and an effort to accommodate each viewer’s thoughts in the work by way of discussion, on-board archives and performable scores broaden relevancy. Can such strategies allow the opinioned content of viewers to more democratically alter the work— freeing content from my own ‘tyrannical’ single voice, while still preserving a role for myself as the work’s creative initiator and discursive catalyst?

I am interested in objects, objects that are the locatable-homes of experience and point us towards less charted paths. In an interview of a shaman healer, it is reported the healer said it is not the rattle or it is sound that produces the medicine these things just mark its presence—I feel quite similarly about locating the art within my working, there are object markers of its presence but these themselves may not actually be the art or even what is sculpted.

Put with brevity: I am engaged in an act of abracadabra, where startling clarity may appear out of non-sense language. I am committed to the inclusion of, contradiction and paradox for these conditions that are prevalent in human experience. The language I utilize is primarily evocative and associative—hopefully inclusive of culturally specific and transcendent touchstones