Wednesday, July 1, 2009

John Feodorov's Spiritual Ambiguities

This piece Souls Awaiting a Future from John Feodorov's recent show "Ambiguities" at South Seattle Community College Nat 18 - June 19, 2009 looks straightforward. The title tells what's there. But actually, in the context of John Feodorov's work it is both funny and subtle. The souls lying on the floor flat are wobbly, perhaps in some in between state of being. There is a celestial television projection, as well as stars hanging from wires. There seem to be four realities at least at work here, our own ( and what we bring to the work in terms of belief systems), the clay in betweens, the video of outer space, and the wires hanging form the ceiling with small stars at the end.
Feodorov questions our assumptions with humor and humility.
He was raised in Whittier California as the son of a fundamentalist. He travelled with his family to the Navajo Reservation to visit his grandparents and relatives. No wonder multiple realities are his focus.
He also has a particular riff in store for new agers, particularly those who borrow Indian elements for personal spiritual quests.
In his recent show in Bellingham he also showed disturbing pseudo spiritual installations

The South Seattle Community College show included a video called "We're Feeding the Gods" dancers performing what appeared to be a type of ritual dance, but they are in a kitchen and other odd, random places, some of them pseudo beautiful. It is a real dance, but we can see that the context as it changes makes the dance seem pretentious and hollow. Perhaps that is John's attitude to institutionalized religion as well as New Age practices.
Also in the show is the Alphabet group of small works. Some have his characteristic puffy cheeked silhouette ( the artist ?) with various eccentric tableaux. The more you look, the more you wander off into some crazy land where nothing is quite as it seems.

Dominating everything is the teddy bears, a theme John has taken up before ( see an example of his Totem Teddy here) , early in his career. In this show at South Seattle Community College there are a lot of empty teddy bears on the ground and their stuffing has been put together as a giant teddy shaped apparition, as though the ghost of all discarded teddy bears is collectively haunting us, and lurking behind that ghost is the real bear, an heroic creature, outraged by this travesty of cuteness for his grandeur.


Regina Hackett said...

mistyped headline. could happen to anyone. regina

Regina Hackett said...

Also, PS: links. Need em. Regina again

Susan Platt said...

Thanks Regina! More links? Did you write about it? This was a quickie. As you say, no editors leads to errors.