Gaf View-Master, Custom View-Master Photographic Reel, 3.6" x 4.1" x 2.7"
The title 'Ritual' alludes to the contentual elements of this series. Concerning the word 'ritual' I am particularly drawn to its medical or psychological definition; 'any act or practice regularly repeated in a set precise manner for relief of anxiety'. I identify my art, beyond this series alone, as having being the result of a carefully constructed, almost obsessive-compulsive, ritualized practice. As an example I employ the same motifs often in a very detailed and repetitive manner. One motif, a monarch butterfly, which is dominant in many of my mixed-media works on canvas, has been translated into this series as three-dimensional stencils using 3D Printing technology. For this proposal I have extended the parameters of this exploration of the word 'ritual' to include a display of my own ritual act involving myself and my wife, though I would consider it to be an ambiguous, even cryptic, interpretation of a ritual; negating any explicit ceremonial, religious or spiritual signification. On display is a pristine and professionally designed art object, titled 'Ritual Object'. Under glass on a pedestal it is exalted to this realm of high art. This is juxtaposed with a perverse ritualized act, involving my wife cutting into me with a small knife, whilst I hold this object, titled 'Ritual Object' in both hands. This act can be viewed through an old Gaf View-Master from the early 1980s. This is the participatory element of the project. In addition to my wife's participation in the act itself, the viewer is also required to participate, assuming an intimate role in-order to view this private act, by physically handling the View-Master to behold its contents. Essentially what the viewer encounters is the documentation of the act itself, through photographs formatted for a custom View-Master reel, just as the displayed 'Ritual Object', as documentation, is emblematic, firstly, of the act having taken place but also of the ritual act's physical absence within the exhibition space. These photographs are not present elsewhere, and so can only be accessed through the View-Master.