Assuming sports as a microcosm of society, my works use the rituals of sport to focus on situations of vulnerability, power, obedience, and resistance.
An athlete strives for perfect. They practice routines and drills hundreds, if not thousands of times to achieve an act without clumsiness, muscular fatigue, or a lapse in focus. In the end, a perfect routine can never be. Perfection can never be. Perfect is something that many pursue but would have no value if fully achieved.
The displayed works put athletes in situations where their routines are hindered. A competitive dance couple performs a routine without each other. The resulting performance consists of miscues and gestures of more graceful acts. A gymnast struggles with thicker atmospheric conditions, the awkwardness of breathing, and buoyancy rather than gravity. The result is a 40-second routine extended to over 8 minutes.
We see the awkward gap between potential and perfection. We Laugh.
Also displayed are objects related to the recorded actions. A pommel horse exists as a sculptural prop; custom built to accommodate its environment while also adhering to sport regulations. Floor segments from a famed Texas dance hall, complete with scuffs and wear that create compositions of circumstance, are hung as framed images. The pommel horse and the floor segments are displayed as relics; objects with a treasured context greater than their material or formal qualities. Every mark is not a flaw, rather it references something larger. The relics achieve an as-is perfect, a state ironically elusive to the featured athletes’ routines.
Eric R. McMaster works involve fabricated objects, athletes, actions and images exploring themes or order, resistance, and vulnerability. His works have been exhibited in New York, Paris, Hiroshima, New Delhi, Miami, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Phoenix among others. He is the recipient of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Professional Fellowship, the Ted Decker Catalyst Fund, and numerous scholastic grants and scholarships. R Eric McMaster currently lives and works in Austin, Texas.
Kim Moore, Michael Meulhaupt, Rachael Starbuck, Olivia Moore, Bill Haddad, Ben Jurgensen, Stephen Stephanian, Cameron Deer, David Miller, Allie Jones, Mira Boyda and Go Dance Studio, The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Art and Art History.