Nick Meriwether Artist Studio Program Exhibition

May 7, 2010 – June 12, 2010 John M. O'Quinn Gallery

Artist Statement

“All of my work in this show was created during my residency. If there is a unifying theme to all of it, that would be the most simple.

Part One – Robots: Much effort around the world has been put into the creation of subservient, helpful robotics. With this new work, I aim to create hostile robots that would like nothing more than to be left alone. In this way, I am able to make them more like humans than their servant counterparts. As I worked on the robots, they developed and were then refined. Eventually, I stripped them of any function not directly related to their particular vices. Motors and microcontrollers were relegated to permanent disuse. Here they exist today. Please leave them be.

Part Two – Hitch Nuts and Shotguns: I have been fascinated by the pockets of hyper-masculine artists that appear throughout art history. I am especially fascinated by the mythologies of some of the Russian Futurists and the Abstract Expressionists: Artists that seemed to enjoy fighting as much as creating artworks. I set out to extend their trajectories. To create works that were in themselves ridiculously masculine or aggressive. Growing up and currently living in Texas, I do not have to look far to find displays of machismo and bravado. One of my favorite examples is the prevalence of oversized, sculpted testicles that dangle below the rear bumpers of giant trucks. I imagine many of these trucks are transporting shotguns or at least shotgun owners. Following this new idea, I set out to create works using a shotgun. A gun, bullet, or bomb is a physical representation of potential energy. I have a great respect and fear of the power of that energy. I learned how to create custom shotgun shells. I was not interested in shooting at art materials; I was interested in propelling the art materials themselves. I filled the shells with various art-making materials and experimented with them on different surfaces. Every shot was unique. Every shot was dangerous. The more I worked, the more I came to realize that the real power of the drawing did not exist in the product, but in the unfired shell itself. Each becomes an untracked geode, full of possibility until revealed by violent force. Each is also full of unlimited potential. If mishandled, a drawing could happen anywhere, on any surface, and could potentially end in death.

Part Three – Alchemy, Gold, Plastic, and Drugs: In the traditional process of alchemy, raw materials from the earth are transmuted in an attempt to create gold and/or everlasting life. In the synthesis of plastics, raw earth materials are combined and processed to create a product that is utilitarian and non-biodegradable. As a result, many plastics will exist long into the future. Also interesting to me is the collective devaluing of gold. It now stands as a suggestion of its former worth, an allusion to high-class affectations. Lastly, I am fascinated by the idea that among spray-paint huffers, gold is sought out above all others. It holds the highest rank in the lowest of scenes. The quest of the huffer has become the same as the quest of the Conquistador.”