Rats Make Love


Katelyn Farstad

They are full of references or a reality
So obvious that they actually
Become cloaked in mystery
From their abundant clichés.
They are
Anarchistic (without a chief)
And they are annoying
(by definition).
The work in the exhibition was prompted by a phone call. I have meandered into a chasm of existential paralysis, and as a result have felt compelled to try and spruce up the poor saps. Rejecting this impulse for the most part has been beneficial. I am experiencing a bashful and seeping anxiety attack….but so are the works. If you don’t respect your art, no one else will. My mind draws blanks when it’s time to fire; ceaseless firing when hush is needed. When I try to envision the whole world as a singular form it might look like a Jeff Koons’ sculpture. I think about all the paintings that have been made by other hands in order to make New York City the complex and unchanged domicile it is.

It makes me nauseous trying to consider the collective toil involved in making every single painting -- that there are thousands of paintings being made every minute, drips being dripped, forms being rendered, colors quieting down. Somehow this does not discourage me. Does it have a good perspective? Are the lemons the right size? It is important to remember to face that which is annoying and unpleasant in oneself while working.

I agree with Johannes VanDerBeek when he said in his press release for A Head Backwards—“With a central drive to create objects that suspend the flow of impermanence, art inherently involves giving absolute form to fleeting reflections.” It is these fleetings, coupled with an initial visual gag reflex that gives us insight into the true bile of expression.

I enjoy using found materials, because it gives me something to work against, an avenue for reaction. I am interested in refashioning the objects to the point at which they become alien, and modestly abject. The surface of a structure becomes a stage for flat graphic space to wander over three-dimensional objects in order to challenge the viewing experience of perceptual depth. I think they can be witty.

When I set out to make this work I sure as shit didn’t think anybody would show it in a gallery. I wanted to not only try to make things that I felt looked foreign to my limited recall rolodex of art historical images, but to also occasionally look at Contemporary Art Daily to see what the famous artists of today were churning out, just to be seminally up to date. Trying to never make more than two of a similar sentiment, the paintings often function in solidarity, though exhaustive formal associations bring them together. I’m just so glad they can all be in the same space; after all, it’s so hard to get everyone together nowadays.

I am genuinely confused as to what these images are, which is in line with how I want to feel when confronting something I’ve made. I am flirting with integrating skimming alchemic imaginings with more stark and illuminating approaches to painting. I believe that everything has an innate empathetic capacity. Whether breath has graced a pair of lungs, or light seems to emanate from stone, there are embers kept hot inside us all, hopefully not unturned. The desire to be loved overrides the desire to love, and that’s why everyone bites off more than they can chew. Even rats can make love.