Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, Opus 1704, Stone, acrylic on paper

Q: So are you saying your work is primarily internal in some way?  As not depending on something external to itself, that it specifically denies referentiality?

ReeL:  My  work is built on what I call “psychic resonances”, like music, the marks and colors resonate with innate internal, psychic, aspects of human cognitive processing.

Q: I’m not sure I follow, Can’t a viewer bring in their own cultural references and personal associations?

ReeL: Yes, of course, that cannot be prevented. One of the fallacies of Modernist theory was that it thought such a clinical purity was possible.  This fallacy persists into late Twentieth century Minimalism and Conceptualism as well. One of the corrections of Post-Modernism was a greater awareness of how thoroughly we cannot escape our cultural screens and that we live in a culturally multi-valent world.  This was a very important and badly needed correction.

However,  the fallacy persists.  Unfortunately, Post-Modernism does not eliminate it, it mutates it into  something more easily overlooked, harder to get at.  Originally the Post-Modernist machinery of multi-culturalism was intended to end things like racism and, correctly, liberate us from a mono-culturally defined and linear history.

Q: And hasn’t it?

ReeL: Yes and no. The Sleep of Reason breeds Monsters.  Ironically we live in a Post-Modernist world full of race wars, genocide, and deadly divisive politics.  This is the dark side of Post-Modernism. It seems to have, in the end, at the grand scale, only magnified the cultural conflicts.

Q; So the monster bred by the reason of Post-Modernism is ….?

ReeL: It’s flip side: A retrenchment search for  identity. Then locking on, trying to preserve, seemingly and all too often at all costs, to that cultural identity, that identity that is supposed to moor us in our great multi-cultural sea, which, additionally,  dangerously locks us into a  too-narrowly defined cultural identity at odds, or worse, at war with all else around us.

Q: So you see this as the flip side of Post-Modernism?

ReeL: Yes, just as Fascism is, in an interesting way, the flip side, the dark side, of Modernism. Something that was explicit in the thought and writings of the Futurists, and, others, such as the later Ezra Pound.


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