Ok, so the guy might be a genius. Since I am not qualified to designate what “genius” entails, I’ll leave it up to you. But to see for myself, I took a drive the other day down to Tiverton, RI to go see Tom Deininger’s raw, mighty and meaty work currently on view at the somewhat new (opened May 2013) Van Vessem Gallery, curated and directed by artist/owner Marika Van Vessem.
Deininger is a painter, yes, seeing with some sort of x-ray vision that defies explanation, but what gets you is the fecundity and raw beauty of the work, along with humorous, timely and sometimes frightening imagery, not to mention painterly craft. The sheer quantity of work, as well as all the various processes in evidence, is astounding.
Loads of small paintings pack the walls, randomly mounted edge to edge, along with large complex digital prints, sculpture, video installation, and his incredible trash art, composed of multitudinous tidbits and cast-offs; largely plastic, and things probably unmentionable. I don’t know. Impossible to tell. But look closely at the following images, a large 3-d self-portrait in trash.
The large dead sparrow collage is stunning.
Detail of sparrow’s head.Wearable art hats and other things.
Don’t even ask me to explain this video/found object/recycled stuff installation. Suffice to say it boggles the mind. You have to see it to get it, and even then you won’t get it. Brilliant. (Those eyes are actually composed of weird stuff, and there are little cameras trained on them, and the images are projected onto the monitors. Or something.)
No way can I attempt a comprehensive review of this show. Therefore I invite you to check out Tom’s website, as well as this article: Natural Landscapes Recreated in Junk , which gives a good overview and provides wonderful images of some of his recycled-stuff art.
I found this Deininger quote from a 2009 interview: “Perception is really the backbone of my work. I think that all art, even reality, is about perception. And so you’ve got one thing up close and it coalesces into something else all together from a distance. So, just the idea of what is reality, what is truth, has everything to do with perception… It reminds me of how slippery it can be, what is real and what is true.”
Indeed. In looking at the prolific and edgy work of Tom Deininger, one gets that slippery feeling of “wtf is real, anyway?” The show is up until Feb 3rd, with a closing party on Feb 2nd. Check out Van Vessem Gallery’s Facebook page for details.