ORDINARY THINGS

   © 1996 - Sheldon Heitner

 

 

    The regard for the ordinary is on the comeback, with the feeling that just behind the gates of the obvious lurks another reality, which in its innate simplicity and directness contains some Truth.

     This is certainly one of those tendencies that has played a role in the development of our civilization, but more often than not it has been relegated to a secondary position, often seen as little more than an undercurrent in Western Civilization – a brief aside in the march of complexity and mystification (and not the mystical) that we choose to call progress.  This state of affairs, the dialogue between a Cartesian dualistic world view, and one which sees things as a whole, has been very present in the west these last thirty years.  Often one side or another is taken, but rarely are we confronted with a body of work that takes as its point of view the resolution of the contradiction involved in the two positions themselves.  It is an attempt to link a simple and immediate vision of the world with its seeming opposites, a healthy intellectual/rational and cultural background.

    The tension this attempt at resolution creates, an explosion of simple vs. the complex, the obvious vs. the profound, is present in the recent work of the American painter living in Paris, Roberta Faulhaber.

    Starting from Fruit, or from the world that contains them, the paintings are seductive in their initial innocence, and in that strict attempt to portray innocence and presence, they lead the viewer to question the world’s space and our positioning in it.

    The larger canvases work like a multi-layered video piece, call attention through the use of technique married to the immediacy of the initial vision, a story-line …  Not so much like a movie, but more like a poem, where the presence of ideas is not linear but a whole, an encircling.

     The key in all this work seems balance… first the balancing of the contradiction described above between an immediate and unmitigated regard for the world, and one filtered through a developed intellectual and cultural background and bias, the second balancing like the resolved tension in music, a harmony of elements where even opposites can be seen to lose their identify to partake in some greater whole.

     Religious art?  Political art?  Transcendent?  Or just pretty pictures?  Perhaps all of these (or none) at one moment or another…