W. DAVID POWELL “TO BE DETERMINED”
12/5/14-12/26/14“The works in this book are all cut paper collages
made between the years 2010 and 2013
The collection of old books and ephemera is necessary for this type of work. These
books, many of which are rescued from dumps and bought by the box from library sales, contain the residue of our material culture. Artifacts such as these are rapidly
disappearing as our visual culture becomes intangible, transitory and ahistoric.
I am increasingly interested in the 19th century, when knowledge was shared and scientific pursuit was part of a holistic “natural philosophy,” nota narrow search for new weapons or drugs. Since the advent of the 20th century, it seems we have lost much of our child-like wonder and awe for a universe that presents us with new marvels every moment that we are sensitive and open to receiving its gifts. The need to quantify existence has become a shackle to science and education.
In the 21st century, the digital world brings us closer together and simultaneously dematerializes the physical world. Text messaging and mp3s replace conversation and music making. The distractions and entertainments of the digital world remove us from the natural world and the real community around us. The media and its 24/7 news cycle (mis)informs us with an Orwellian doublespeak that inhibits the social interaction and intellectual climate that could otherwise encourage living generously
and receptively in the world.
The work is not meant to teach or preach, but to present images from a
variety of sources in new configurations that might provoke curiosity, promote
reflection on what we know and think we know, and challenge our habitual thinking.”
– W. David Powell, 2014