Heart Held combines distortions of the kitsch and banal in a mockery of precious craft methods. Raffle appropriates how-to lessons from Donna Dewberry’s Complete Book of One-Stroke Painting in a grotesque interpretation of everyday craft instruction. Raffle has painted a simple heart shaped paper box white and has blistered the paint with extreme heat to create a texture both sensual and frightening, asking the viewer to question their relationship to the banal.
The opened box reveals a blatant reference to the two-tone recipe from Dewberry’s “Basic Leaf” ridiculously applied as globs of paint, rather than the prescribed gradient blend. While a quick glance at the painting technique suggests a childlike crudeness, this apparent innocence is belied by subtle cracks that cleave the spare lines of color in the painted surfaces. A simple leaflet form of a young sprout is mirrored in the top and bottom of the box.
|These sprouts reference both the nascence with which Raffle regards his source materials (and possibly his art materials, as well), and points to a self-referential tension between craft and art that is thematic of this work. Raffle has indeed incorporated a certain craft in Heart Held, although it is not the one that will be easily found in art store prescriptive books, nor is it a style designed for the bourgeois mantelpiece.|
|Heart Held points to works by both Koons and Gober in which everyday objects are appropriated in a work of art and craft techniques are applied to reinterpret the meaning of the object. While Koons recontextualizes craft and product vis-à-vis art world celebrity, Gober internalizes the craft object to claim ownership over the object and its environments. Like Gober’s hand-crafted plumbing fixtures, Heart Held is a sincere appropriation of the object through its physical reinterpretation. On another hand, Heart Held intentionally mocks a kitsch culture of art-making and raises questions of status and value in the arts. Craft is exposed here as a tool for sarcasm. An amplified application of materials, processes and techniques has lead to the destruction of the precious and resulted in Raffle’s poingnant reinterpretation of the banal.|
mas962 : 2b:
... september 29, 2002