Last Thursday I tagged along with Aaron Meyers, the resident Sculpture Graduate Assistant for Bucknell’s Art Department, to the Grey Gallery in Williamsport, PA. He has been showing a few of his sculptural and video works there for a couple months now and the other night was the gallery opening for the most recent show From Paul Kostabi with Love.
In this show Aaron was showing two works. One is a great video piece showing him crawling through a kind of 6′ x6′ Sol LeWitt cube. The other work was his latest performance work, whose set up you can see in the image above. He wrote up a blog post of his own right after this performance so I’m gonna let him do most of the talking about the genesis of the work.
As you can see though, Aaron has positioned himself precariously on this wooden plank some feet above the ground. For the duration of the performance he drills holes repeatedly through the wooden plank. This monotonous task not only looks very exhausting but the continuous whirring of the drill is taxing on one’s hearing.
As you can imagine the principle focal point of the work is everybody wondering “When is he gonna fall?” “Do you think he’ll hurt himself?” And here is where I find the work so compelling. It is clear that if he continues this task, he will fall. And while you are watching him you have the sense that that might happen at any moment and you kind of want to see it. But this is where Aaron messes with you. For such a work where the conclusion is boldly apparent (he even has the remains of the same previous performance to his left), it takes an inordinate amount of time, more than your average attention span, more than we are even conditioned to expect from mass culture (TV, Movies, and the Internet don’t make us wait very long at all).
Its in this simple, monotonous task that the viewers (and there were quite a lot at the opening) found themselves feeling the strong sense of anticipation, the sense of cathartic release being withheld. I appreciate most that this is all so concisely wrapped up in the work’s title, It Must Nearly Be Finished. I look forward to convincing Aaron that he should include this performance in the Department of Art and Art History’s Annual Student Exhibition at the end of the semester so that more get to experience what I did.
Anyways, here’s his blog, Check it out!