Arthur Wards (°1979, Elk City,Oklahoma, United States) is an artist who works in a variety of media. By demonstrating the omnipresent lingering of a ‘corporate world’, Wards touches various overlapping themes and strategies. Several reoccurring subject matter can be recognised, such as the relation with popular culture and media, working with repetition, provocation and the investigation of the process of expectations.
His artworks often refers to pop and mass culture. Using written and drawn symbols, a world where light-heartedness rules and where rules are undermined is created. By examining the ambiguity and origination via retakes and variations, he creates work through labour-intensive processes which can be seen explicitly as a personal exorcism ritual. They are inspired by a nineteenth-century tradition of works, in which an ideal of ‘Fulfilled Absence’ was seen as the pinnacle.
His practice provides a useful set of allegorical tools for manoeuvring with a pseudo-minimalist approach in the world of art: these meticulously planned works resound and resonate with images culled from the fantastical realm of imagination. By focusing on techniques and materials, he focuses on the idea of ‘public space’ and more specifically on spaces where anyone can do anything at any given moment: the non-private space, the non-privately owned space, space that is economically uninteresting.
His works are notable for their perfect finish and tactile nature. This is of great importance and bears witness to great craftsmanship. By creating situations and breaking the passivity of the spectator, he considers making art a craft which is executed using clear formal rules and which should always refer to social reality.
His works are often about contact with architecture and basic living elements. Energy (heat, light, water), space and landscape are examined in less obvious ways and sometimes developed in absurd ways. By applying a wide variety of contemporary strategies, he tries to increase the dynamic between audience and author by objectifying emotions and investigating the duality that develops through different interpretations.
His works are based on inspiring situations: visions that reflect a sensation of indisputability and serene contemplation, combined with subtle details of odd or eccentric, humoristic elements. In a search for new methods to ‘read the city’, he creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal, luring the viewer round and round in circles.
His works are made through strict rules which can be perceived as liberating constraints. Romantic values such as ‘inspiration’, ‘genius’ and ‘authenticity’ are thereby neutralised and put into perspective. By applying abstraction, he plays with the idea of the mortality of an artwork confronted with the power of a transitory appearance, which is, by being restricted in time, much more intense.
His works are given improper functions: significations are inversed and form and content merge. Shapes are dissociated from their original meaning, by which the system in which they normally function is exposed. Initially unambiguous meanings are shattered and disseminate endlessly. By choosing mainly formal solutions, he wants the viewer to become part of the art as a kind of added component. Art is entertainment: to be able to touch the work, as well as to interact with the work is important.
His works are often classified as part of the new romantic movement because of the desire for the local in the unfolding globalized world. However, this reference is not intentional, as this kind of art is part of the collective memory. By putting the viewer on the wrong track, he formalizes the coincidental and emphasizes the conscious process of composition that is behind the seemingly random works. The thought processes, which are supposedly private, highly subjective and unfiltered in their references to dream worlds, are frequently revealed as assemblages.
His works demonstrate how life extends beyond its own subjective limits and often tells a story about the effects of global cultural interaction over the latter half of the twentieth century. It challenges the binaries we continually reconstruct between Self and Other, between our own ‘cannibal’ and ‘civilized’ selves. By replaying the work for each exhibition and pushing the evocative power of the work a little further, he tries to create works in which the actual event still has to take place or just has ended: moments evocative of atmosphere and suspense that are not part of a narrative thread. The drama unfolds elsewhere while the build-up of tension is frozen to become the memory of an event that will never take place.
His works directly respond to the surrounding environment and uses everyday experiences from the artist as a starting point. Often these are framed instances that would go unnoticed in their original context. With a subtle minimalistic approach, he tries to focus on the activity of presenting. The character, shape or content of the presented artwork is secondary. The essential things are the momentary and the intention of presenting.
His works never shows the complete structure. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. By experimenting with aleatoric processes, he tries to approach a wide scale of subjects in a multi-layered way, likes to involve the viewer in a way that is sometimes physical and believes in the idea of function following form in a work.
His works are based on formal associations which open a unique poetic vein. Multilayered images arise in which the fragility and instability of our seemingly certain reality is questioned. By using popular themes such as sexuality, family structure and violence, his works references post-colonial theory as well as the avant-garde or the post-modern and the left-wing democratic movement as a form of resistance against the logic of the capitalist market system.
His works doesn’t reference recognisable form. The results are deconstructed to the extent that meaning is shifted and possible interpretation becomes multifaceted. By referencing romanticism, grand-guignolesque black humour and symbolism, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations.
His works feature coincidental, accidental and unexpected connections which make it possible to revise art history and, even better, to complement it. Combining unrelated aspects lead to surprising analogies. With a conceptual approach, he creates work in which a fascination with the clarity of content and an uncompromising attitude towards conceptual and minimal art can be found. The work is aloof and systematic and a cool and neutral imagery is used.
His works are presented with the aim not to provide an idealistic view but to identify where light and the environment are important. The energy of a place and its emotional and spiritual vibrations are always important. Arthur Wards currently lives and works in Oklahoma.
Wooster Goobs #he Exhibitions, Further Complicates The Reception Of Their Manifold Layers Of Meaning. By Emphasising Aesthetics, He Seduces The Viewer Into A World Of Ongoing Equilibrium And The Interval That Articulates The Stream Of Daily Events. Moments Are Depicted That Only Exist To Punctuate The Human Drama In Order To Clarify Our Existence And To Find Poetic Meaning In Everyday Life.
His Works Are Saturated With Obviousness, Mental Inertia, Clichés And Bad Jokes. They Question The Coerciveness That Is Derived From The More Profound Meaning And The Superficial Aesthetic Appearance Of An Image. By Parodying Mass Media By Exaggerating Certain Formal Aspects Inherent To Our Contemporary Society, He Tries To Create Works In Which The Actual Event Still Has To Take Place Or Just Has Ended: Moments Evocative Of Atmosphere And Suspense That Are Not Part Of A Narrative Thread. The Drama Unfolds Elsewhere While The Build-up Of Tension Is Frozen To Become The Memory Of An Event That Will Never Take Place.
His Works Are Given Improper Functions: Significations Are Inversed And Form And Content Merge. Shapes Are Dissociated From Their Original Meaning, By Which The System In Which They Normally Function Is Exposed. Initially Unambiguous Meanings Are Shattered And Disseminate Endlessly. Goobs Wooster Currently Lives And Works In Solvang.## %# Rosado Mike