George Fluke Exhibit

Posted on July 23rd, 2014

The inimitable George Fluke whose conceptual art in the past has always been 
thought provoking, often ironic or downright humorous presents an array of new works at Main Street Artists Gallery during the month of July, which are sure to engage viewers and challenge them intellectually.  Meticulously crafted pieces from re-purposed guitars to hatching birds to giant telephones and coaxial cables to scorpion candy -- all assembled from found (or donated) objects serve to underscore the crux of the artist's quest, which is to use metaphor, irony and humor to
convey a message about the purpose and meaning of art.
 
Each of George's works is a commentary on the world around him, and he invites
the viewer to  share his insights and understand his perspective.  Briefly, George endorses the philosophy of psychologist Jonathan Haidt, whose theories hold that  societies are held together by moral foundations of caring, fairness, liberty, loyalty, authority and purity.  George believes that by using metaphoric tools, art can provide comparisons or show points of view that reinforce our moral matrices and allow art to serve society.  Historically, art has been used by church and state to do just that, but in the last 150 years the arts have been driven more by individuals as
artists have pushed the boundaries of all our senses.  And now that art can use any media to portray any subject, many artists are breaking down the moral foundations by giving us kitsch examples of caring or fairness and by being disrespectful and rebellious for its own sake.  Thus Hedonism is the current –ism in his view, allowing violence, pursuit of personal pleasure and sensationalism at the expense of metaphoric insight into the good life.  
 
With this philosophy in mind, the viewer needs to look more closely at the 
artwork in this show to discern which metaphor is being depicted and what 
message the artist is trying to convey, taking a cue from the title of each piece.
A particular example is the snow shovel -- a nod to the French artist Marcel 
Duchamp who, after being rejected by a local art academy in 1915 exhibited
a ready-made shovel (and subsequently the infamous urinal in 1917) as a gesture
of rebellion against the acceptable art norms of his day, thus ushering in a new
nihilistic movement that George believes persists today. 
 
But aside from these historical and philosophical theories, this show allows viewers to
simply marvel at the artist's talent at putting disparate elements together in a most creative and astonishing way to jolt people out of complacency and make them wonder.  Ultimately, he shows us new perspectives using ordinary tools, which to many is the essence of conceptual art.
 
Also featured in July as guest artist is Steve O'Connell of Greenville with a
display of beautifully refined sculptural works.
 
The opening for George's exhibit was held on Friday evening, July 11.  


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