Sunday, October 26, 2008


Is there anyone out there?  Is there too much tension in your life, are you stretched and strained? Are you putting too much intellectual effort into coming up with an idea?  Do you need to throw out some possibilities for feedback?  Hello...... 


Brett Anthony Ernst said...

So I'll bite-
I think I always put too much intellectual effort into coming up with an idea- the best ones are usually easier, not that they are any less complex, but the initial spark is more natural, and needs less fanning to produce a flame.
I constantly get caught up in big picture global crisis types of concepts- lately I am trying to bring these concepts to a personal reflective state. I am currently working on my thesis exhibition which I hope to include multiple media if not multi-media to examine the role of Catholicism within my immediate and extended family. It has been said that there are two types of family, the family that you are born with, and the family you choose,(social families) I am looking into a third type of family, which is usually born into, but can also be chosen/rejected. I am trying to find out why people that I respect and cherish have held on so strongly to a religion that has been complicit in numerous crimes against humanity throughout history. Are they really into this religion or do they identify themselves as Catholic in place of a definite ethnicity (we are all mutts). I am in the process of interviewing family members with the hopes of creating a video piece that will uncover truths about their relationship with Catholicism (not God/Jesus/Mary etc.) to be complemented by constructions, paintings prints drawings etc.
If you are going to believe- why Catholicism? Why do I feel somewhat offended when I hear negative comments about Catholics? I am agnostic.
I came upon this concept while talking at length with a Mormon friend of mind. This man is one of the sharpest most honorable people I know, but…
Anyway I have never seen much difference in the absurdity of the various religions, but I am envious of the ability to believe in them. I don’t want to come off as condescending, I am not out to attack the religion, that seems too easy.
Any thoughts would be appreciated- Questions as well

brian h. jones said...

That's more than a bite, it's a mouth full. I didn't know what you were up to in the Queen City, but this gives me a glimpse. But you're getting into some stuff that I know is rich in tradition, and in art. In fat, if you search for Catholic symbols, the Sacrifice of the Old Covenant look similar to your BFA thesis exhibition. There's also a book a book, "Postmodern Heretics: Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art" by E. Heartney. It may provide some extra inspiration. Then there's always architecture; now there's a treasure-trove for catholic art. My gosh, have you even been to St. Peter's? There was an article in Newsweek, I think, a few weeks ago about the Vatican purchasing contemporary art, and one of the pieces they bought was Jeff Koons' Michael Jackson and his chimp bubbles, or whatever its name was. Religion in art has been around a long time and artists from every period, every decade, every year have explored religion, their religion or everyone else's. It really sound like a good place to be and it makes me think that I could look at aspects of my religious up-brining for my "tension" image for the exchange portfolio. There were lots of things about the Spiritualist church that inspired tension, especially sitting in dark spaces waiting for spirtis to manifest in some way. I may look at that with a different perspective. Thanks for brining it up.

Brett Anthony Ernst said...

Thanks for the suggestion on the book, it is very helpful-
I can't believe I didn't know Vito Acconci was Catholic- His videos have suddenly become much clearer.

In trying to get this work ready for my thesis, I had been constrained by the gallery spaces at UC, this however is no longer going to be an issue as it appears that all 22 (yes 22) MFA Candidates are going to have a simultaneous opening in a former grade school building in Clifton Each artist will get their own "gallery" that they will have total control over- The space has drawn big crowds for other events, so it should be huge.

I am planning to use my space for an installation that addresses the idea of Catholicism as a sort of racial identity. I am putting together a video that will be comprised of interview footage of my family members discussing their thoughts on the state of their religion and how they view themselves as Catholics, or not. I have constructed a confessional to house the video which will play the role of priest/sinner obscured from clear view. The walls of my gallery will be lined with imagery from the confessionals that family members have visited at various parishes. I hope to also construct pews and a holy water font that contains holy water from these various parishes. I will post a visual on my blog that gives a general idea of what I am thinking.

brian h. jones said...

Sounds like an interesting project, although I'm not quite sure what you mean by "racial identity". Is catholicism particular to an identifiable race or is that going to be your take? Where can I find your blog?

Brett Anthony Ernst said...

By racial identity what I'm trying to get at is a similar association to that of Jews. There is the Jewish religion but there is also the Jewish ethnicity, not that one must neccesarily be of any ethnic origin o be catholic, but rather within my family dynamic I think identification of oneself as a Catholic is more on par with how people embrace their Irish heritage, than an endorsement of the religious doctrine.

You can get to my blog by clicking on my blogger profile pic or