Friday, April 11, 2008

Comfort Kills: I will

deliver the Explosion. Bomaye!!!

Fight!!! - from Michi's solo show at Eyedrum. (Photos by Ben Grad)

Yesterday, I decided to send Michi a little text message during my lunch break:
can you explain "Fight! Bomaye!" i have no freaking idea...
I never expected what I got in return. I was simply curious about the Eyedrum installation, and I still couldn't make sense of some of Michi's themes. It was like a sudden deluge of holy mana - like a soothing shower amid the desert of normal, workaday life:
Bomaye is african for kill him made famous by africans when ali fought foreman for my metaphor fight its a chant for layers and layers of thought the v
arious obsticals in our lives so jeremy bomaye his issues or your opponent and that opponent could be spiritual physical or a say an idea maybe a feelin
g of doubt its a motivating tool like i think i can
Brilliant! It was, unmistakably, the coolest text message I've ever seen. In retrospect, I don't recommend doing interviews via text message; I admit, it was sort of irresponsible and, for that matter, just a little cruel. (Imagine holding a cell phone and typing all those letters...) I had no intention of causing Michi to write such a detailed response.

One Wit The Win

Comfort Kills Pursuit: a show concept centered around the mythology of Muhammad Ali and that particular era of Civil Rights. The paintings address a theme of catharsis, reflecting the personal struggles of one individual as well as the fight waged by a whole generation of Americans (not to mention a race of people).

It reminds me of that Blue Scholars track, "The Long March." (Please click on this link; it takes you to the audio. At just over two minutes' length, the song is a fun, extended allusion to the early days of Mao Zedong). Another fun Blues Scholars song, one called "Blink," has some clever lyrics about our now legendary Cassius Clay:
If it happens god damn it, if I get drafted today
I swear to God, Jah, Allah and Yahweh
I’ll toss the letter away and I’ll pull a Cassius Clay,
In the military
Minorities comprise the majority, Surprised? are you kidding me?
The lies rely on brown bodies to fight for white puppet masters
I cannot fathom how the caged bird drinks
Until he thinks he is free
Triptych, detail below.

You can't exactly see in the detail, but the dripping tar pools onto a stack of quilts, where a little wooden figurine drowns in a shallow puddle of black. This tiny, cartoonish man might actually represent a self-portrait. I'm not sure what to make of the symbolism, but several of the pieces include these sort of miniature doppelgängers. The one in One Wit The Win is slightly transparent, using the color of wood as flesh and, perhaps, serving as a Caucasian "self."

Another piece, one marked Glory Glory, is similar to the figurine used underneath Michi's triptych. "Dolled up" in the style of a tar baby, it clutches a boll of cotton as if it were an Easter flower. (The same cotton stalk appears in One Wit The Win.) I'll be watching the TindelMichi blog for, hopefully, an official artist statement.

Fight!!!, detail.

Artist as black Nietzche Michi beyond good & evil [sic]: some of Michi's typical word-play shenanigans.

Michi Bomaye!! and detail.
Thrill is to make it up, the rules I break
got me a place Up on the Radar
A coworker pointed out to me that this piece, with its bolls of cotton and suspension-style installation, sort of resemble a cotton scale. Cotton scales were used to determine if a laborer (the paid variety and otherwise...) had fulfilled his or her cotton-picking quota for the day. Fascinating.



These two entries illustrated what I understand is Michi's abstractionist style. The diamond shapes suggest the patterns of a folk art quilt. That Everlast bag is pretty impressive.

Something about the Eyedrum inspires wacky creativity. This is a page from my "notes" on Sunday. Part diagram, part (crappy) conceptual drawing... maybe you could call it a "ghostmap?"

And this little guy was the "door greeter" for the gallery space. Nice! Real is a mother fucker, isn't it?

Comfort Kills Pursuit: Fight! - show continues at Eyedrum through April 26.

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Jonathan said...

I saw this show and didn't know what to make of it, except that I liked it, a lot. Glad you took it a step further.

mike said...

This is a great post on what looks to be an amazing step foreword for MICHI. I was unable to go see it at the opening but I will now go out of my way to make sure that I don't miss it.

Cinque said...

I agree with mike...big step forward. The last time I wrote about Michi-- well, about TindelMichi anyway--I accused them of a certain intellectual laziness (scroll down to April 2). I still basically stand by that. But with the current work, I liked that things were beginning to come off the wall, that the work's dialog seemed not just internal but external as well, that it felt less oblivious, as jonathan would say...

Fifth said...

It's nice to see Michi's solo stuff.

Given how many group shows and collaborations he's done recently, I wondered how much the tiny figure drowning in tar imagery embodied Michi's creative self.

(As always, awesome post. Your thought process reminds me of the Patriot Arrow, as seen in Robin Hood: Men In Tights)

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Miami Office Space said...

awesome post, I really want to know if I can buy some of these art.
I love the door greeter who says>
"free ain't easy
free is real
and real's a mother fucker"
simply awesome