STUDIO VISIT: OMAR THOR ARASON
Painting is a place. Creation of the locale. Looking at a work is not being stationary but transporting, at least metaphysically. The goal of the artist is to take you somewhere. Where that maybe isn’t as certain as a GPS indicator could signify – that place may not be identifiable in terms of physical reality except for the two dimensional plane of brush strokes on a substrate. There are other places to go in the realm of painting and Omar Thor Arason is taking you there.
Plotted out like diagrams into oblivion, or reconstructed from particles and remains littering the obvious foreground, or neglected recesses of the psyche, these are places Arason articulates. From his studio to his portfolio reaching back to 2005, Arason generates locales. Who could think of Freud as inspiration (above) – the cigar in his hand the smoke billowing out your mother’s belly button? But who knows about thanatology? There Arason places you. Almost a dialogue, you are able to recognize the sign and symbol, only dissipation floods: machines are meant for pragmatics, furiously spitting stratiations like sparks that dim instantly, if not deconstructed and folded in a continuous and universal flux of matter, never to have significance but aesthetic in the absence of previous thoughts.
Carnal tendencies are akin to the Northern breed, Arason hailing from Iceland. Growth is complicit to the desire for warm flesh; blood dripping, thighs erect, positioned arousingly, exciting the expected response. Pornography is standard at this point in time, an audience relishes in being shocked; feeling satiated and appalled in the same image. Titillation is not the objective Arason invokes, though, more like a backlog of ideas destroyed; history imprints itself and is repeated in stencils, standards, concepts known to illicit response with the force of artillery. Now distorted, not too much but with enough charismatic removal to give you an authentic touch besides portrayal of the typical ideal.
Discussions of surrealism are too contrite, words fail to captivate originals. That was one thing Freud was after; new language. Arason chases a tail in means buried beneath a nation, a city, a geography, a mechanism, a face, a conversation. Drab/colorful, vague/descript, familiar/foreign, empty/full, designed/erratic: – there Arason takes you, there he begins his dialect.
Words by: Howard Brad Halverson