Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Artist Lecture - Justin Maes

During the month of October, I went to the opening exhibition and lecture of Justin Maes’ Return of the Gold exhibition in the Sheppard Contemporary gallery of the Church of Fine Arts. Justin Maes went forward and talked much about his life in art and how he came to do the current style he normally does now. A question I had asked him during his lecture was concerning a certain art piece I had seen coming into the gallery. Standing right by the entrance was this huge pink sheep made of foam and plastic. When I asked him what the purpose of the pink sheep was, he gave me a more simple answer saying that he thought pink would be a color that would grab more attention than simply grey. Maes explained that he made that sheep with no real purpose behind it; he simply made the sheep in the spirit of the western style as well as for fun. This was intriguing since it has been awhile since I have talked to an artist who did not have some sort of intricate meaning to his artwork. It was a good lesson to be learned: not all artists have a big meaning to their artwork but rather make pieces out of their own enjoyment. One of the most interesting pieces in the exhibit was the golden bull located in the back of the gallery. It reminded me of the golden calf from the Old Testament, the symbol of a manmade deity made by a desperate and bitter people. When asked about the golden bull, Justin Maes explained that he had made the bull for the sake of a reminder. In truth, as he said it, he had made his artwork much like the golden bull in the Bible; it had become a symbol of his arrogance. The golden bull stood as a symbol of false idolatry and a reminder that we need to sometimes step away from the work or style we’ve been working with and work with another. Overall, I’d say that his lecture was quite enjoyable. Justin Maes went with such a fun topic that seemed to fit with the Old West Nevada spirit. He used a ton of mediums like spray paint, cardboard, foam, wood, and video. The lecture showed that sometimes we all need to take a break from what we normally do and try out something new and fun at times.

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