Metaphor: Compared to What?

I am in a car driving in a recurring

dream when I realize my need to stop 

or turn the wheel, but I can’t because
I am in the back seat ( no one else is in the car)
and my feet can’t reach the brakes.
Some anxiety is associated with this, but
the overwhelming feeling that I take away from
this experience is not being out of control –
but a feeling of being infantilized.

On a subconscious level the dream is a complex but not so subtle metaphor
for some event in our existence.  This comparative aspect is an organizing
principle at work in artistic pursuits ( among other things ) and seems to run
on autopilot in regions of the heart and mind.

In the news, researchers are beginning to map out with greater certainty where
in the brain our thoughts occur.  Which brings me to Guillermo Kuitca, whose
exhibition: “Everything, Paintings and Works on Paper” runs through May 30th at
 The Albright Knox Gallery, in Buffalo.

Kuitca conducts his own form of research and diagrams his findings on the walls
of the museum.  Right away, his art talks about locations of where things happen,
judging from the seating charts which make up a portion of this show.  You know
somethings happening, you just don’t know what it was, to paraphrase Bob Dylan.

Mapping is a hot topic (in some ways more obscure than the amazing Google Maps),
with Kuitca you are given locations but you have to supply the substance.  He does
this over and over again, and you realize this is a form of ritual – a human performance
with some habitual movements that takes you someplace and later returns you to start all
over again.

The performative element of this visual art is unlike the theatre- the audience does not
get to see the painter in the act of creation.  So why are there all these works of art about
available seats at the theatre?  Isn’t there a paradox here?  The artist takes you to a place,
but can’t show you what is going on.  This sometimes frustrating feeling is compounded
by paintings of nearly empty rooms in a childlike style that reminds me of the dream I
wrote about at the top of this article.

Down a long hallway at The Albright Knox, does anyone notice a tiny drawing from
the Herb and Dorothy Vogel collection by Don Hazlitt?  Only a couple of square inches,
this drawing from 1977 forecasts the plane crash in Clarence Center, New York that
I thought about as I drove down the Thruway to Buffalo, in full control of my vehicle.

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