Sunday, April 20, 2014
By DANIEL KANY
(Continued from page 1)
“A Duet of Blizzards”
“Musical Buoy in Search Towards a New Shore”
"BLIZZARDS, GALES, AND OCEAN BUOYS" -- SCULPTURE BY NATHALIE MIEBACH
WHERE: Common Street Arts, 16 Common St., Waterville
WHEN: Through April 20
HOURS: Noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday
INFO: 872-2787; commonstreetarts.org
ARTIST TALK: 6:30 p.m. Saturday, followed by musical performances by Frank Mauceri, Carl Dimow, Peter McLaughlin and Joshua DeScherer
Why do this? It's visually exciting sculpture. Clearly, a great deal of research and ideas have inspired Miebach, and she wants credit for that. The apparent complexity and skill impress people, and their lack of complete understanding gives the artist a stage to talk about how smart and complicated the project is.
Some movies, books and art are better as food for thought than as immediate experiences. My problem with Miebach's vainglorious parade of self-proclaimed erudition is that it pretends to be more than it is. She presents it as a refined delicacy instead of merely food for thought.
My frustration is that it actually is fantastic craft (and I love craft) and good sculpture (which I crave). It even touches some profoundly interesting subjects such as the gap between subjective and objective language; the dimensionality of notation; and the relationship of the work of art to notation (which is a key component of conceptual art, music, performance and literature).
Miebach has a piece about Sebastian Junger's "The Perfect Storm." Junger's book teaches you about weather and how we predict it in a way that matters -- since people's lives are at stake. Miebach seems to want that emotional engagement, but she hasn't figured out how. I hope she does.
She might win awards, but that says more about her pitch than her work's integrity. It reminds me that, judging by popularity, McDonald's appears to have the best food in the world. What it really does best, however, is marketing.
Let me be clear: I ignore shows I think aren't worth visiting. But I think Common Street Arts has a very interesting show on its hands. Remember when Toto pulled back the curtain to reveal the man at the controls? Well, that dog knew what theater is really about.
Freelance writer Daniel Kany is an art historian who lives in Cumberland. He can be contacted at:
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“She’s Coming on, She’s Coming on Strong”