EXACT CHANGE at Visual Arts Center Gallery (SAC)

March 1, 2018 @ 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM
Visual Arts Center Gallery (SAC)
950 Lewis St
San Antonio, TX 78212
SAC Visual Arts Center
(210) 486-1030

Exact Change

In 1880, the art patron Charles Ephrussi purchased Edouard Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus for 1,000 francs. The original price for the painting was 800 francs, however, Ephrussi would become the owner of Bunch of Asparagus with the fervor of overpayment in the amount of 200 francs. The gesture of appreciation of both patron and artist was equally palpable. In fact, Manet quickly sent Ephrussi a smaller painting of a single asparagus with a note that remarked that one spear had “slipped from the bunch”. The artist’s One Asparagus was a gesture of appreciation for Ephrussi’s patronage. Manet could have easily reimbursed the difference in the over payment for Bunch of Asparagus. Further, he could have painted a second One Asparagus to make up for the initial over payment of the original painting by accounting for the smaller scale format and the exact change of 200 francs. Each remaining asparagus spear would have been valued at 100 francs each. Nevertheless, it would be difficult to determine the Parisian practice of selling bunches of asparagus at the tail end of the 19th century without an extensive anthropological survey being conducted. Also, there are no contemporaneous examples to refer to since the number of asparagus spears sold is often determined by weight.

It is admittedly difficult to curate a personally inclusive two-person exhibition; the endeavor seemingly becomes a pursuit of finding a likeminded individual that engages their practice in a similar way. Eventually, the incentive in my choice to include Daniela Cavazos Madrigal revealed a delight that there are differences despite the visceral ethos shared. In any case, the narrative regarding the exchange between artist and patron serves as a conceptual prelude for the Spring 2018 exhibition at San Antonio College’s Visual Arts Center. It employs the comparative qualities that individually autonomous works have in common with generative ideas in the latter cycle of a body of work. As the curator, the metaphorical appropriation of Manet’s Bunch of Asparagus and the subsequent One Asparagus helps create loaded indices that reveal purposeful modification that are seemingly infallible. It is the work of art with in the art that becomes the transitive wholeness that is the ontological proxy for the momentum in an artist’s practice. At times the autonomy of a work is contingent on a singular aspect, not a focal point or symbol but an emphasis of attraction that comprises of a wealth of information. It is not a specific iconographic marker that is associated with signage, rather a particular sublimated object that becomes the trope. But, it manages to avoid the follies of complacent creative apostasy because of the reverberated layers of simultaneous subversive and progenitive inquiry. Perhaps this collective creative process is the trope of exact change. It is a seemingly ephemeral utilization found in the two artist’s works of required beliefs and practices assisting in identifying a hybrid moment. It is an idiomatic hybridization contextualized by specific media, mythology and modalities of presentation. Daniela Cavazos Madrigal and myself are the featured artists in the two-person show that explore the ontological through the inquiry in the fondness and aversion of media choices and revelatory content.

In the original aforementioned painting, the transformative change is affected by the inclusion of the second painting. It obviously continues to exist as an autonomous painting. But, it has been transitively harvested as the impetus for the second singular asparagus spear painting. The deductive sequentiality in this 2D harvesting is analogous to the transformational utilization of unconventional media found in both our work. In fact, the gallery installation will comprise of work from different time periods of each of our practice, all the while maintaining the consistent trajectory that allows for the readability of the exact change in the deductive sequentiality. Madrigal’s body of work is built around the illusive notion of the American Dream. The understanding that inequity is systematic and difference is often met with hostility is the driving force behind her practice. Her work challenges the barriers, both material and transcendent, that exist in our current sociocultural climate. Her work is often informed by the border politics that fracture the immigrant work force and the current emphasis on deportation. Additionally, I’ve always been fascinated with familial rituals and the mythology that initiates them. The use of diaristic iconography that spawns from a variety of visual dialects help create the identity of the work that is forged by past and present experiences with archetypal subject matter. I’ve utilized recent work to navigate through an identity that once was, in order to reach an identity that now is. In the end, our work explores narratives that have some type of moral derivative.

There are difficulties with compartmentalizing our two practices, however the layout of the Visual Arts Center gallery is conducive to the notion of installing two bodies of work that run congruently on an ontologically conceptual horizon. Like most work, the installation will help create complicated discursive examination through its multilayered structures. Again, the appropriation of Edouard Manet and Charles Ephrussi’s exchange is analogous to the unapologetic transformational harvesting that allows the viewer to gain access of critical content in the work.

“Nothing, it would seem, could possibly give to such a motley of effort the right to lay claim to whatever one might mean by the category of sculpture. Unless, that is, the category can be made to become infinitely malleable.” – Rosalind Krauss