from Three Fools Press e-book Edition of
25 Light Years from Home (Picking up The Pieces)
Eyes raised above you, obscured by constellations
of those who have come before, Max Skeans’
work strikes immediately. “I have seen that
before.” Not the mall porn surrealist photo
manifestos enabled by transgressed graphical usership.
“That one guy who makes those calendars…”
with “.95” in the price. Grabbed from
the impulse purchase rack, the calendars. But
before. Somewhere at the moment cortical paradigms
unravel. Where weaponry, religion and sex align
horizontal. Where the grotesque curiosity of an
OB/GYN stirrup table unfolds. The moment the manifest
folk stroke of graffiti art projects through the
tinted windows of your car, ten miles per second
per second. Until. The gravity of Skeans’
imagery snaps you back. No discernable descent,
no landing. Until. He casts constellations, and
assures, that time steals the light. That the
event horizon is merely, the tidy edge of our
own visual cuneiforms. Until, he exposes purpose
in our vernacular. Purpose in our visual refuse.
Reminds, that at some point, the stars,
simply. Will quit.
Skeans is from another time. The closest thing
I can even mark to where his trek aligns with
mine, would be the 1970’s, his taste for
punk music. Fully, two decades ahead of me, his
lens has churned through the atrocity exhibits
of Vietnam and Cambodia. Freelance agency for
The Associated Press. The squiggly halls of Museum
of Modern Art. Hands on the wheel for Hunter S.
Thompson in Florida where he taught, and the very
large chip on his shoulder, queen blue, Robert
Mapplethorpe, his friend. Cincinnati village damned
in his resume, though he is wise in his work and
in his life, to remain close.
Max was fully ground
through the machinery of 1960’s idealism,
and I know few people my age, that find him as
anything more than a surrealist who keeps doing
it because, as his generation also demands, he
must feel, or quite actually owe, a debt to some
other time. Twenty five years of working is a
long time to have not mastered anything of yourself.
Twenty five years is a long time to keep doing
the same thing over and again. No one my age has
ever worked at a factory for twenty five years,
and never will. What’s more, critical exploration
of Skeans’ work exacerbates the arrival
of any proven approach. The contemporary criticism
transcribed from anachronistic “surreal”
to say---that he “deconstructs”. I
have found, and stand by, otherwise. That it is
this simple; you can’t have Skeans unless
you thrive where very visceral everyday visual
language presents itself and persists. You can’t
have Skeans, an anachronism, because of the presumed
convenience of the visual language he draws from.
Max Skeans shoots, and has always, in our time.
you were unfamiliar with Skeans’ work, receiving
this work alone, without the compliment of his
web site, his feature on our site (semantikon.com/medium.htm)
in early 2004, then much is in store. If you browsed
his feature on our site, are informed, then some
of the enigma of Max has built up, will be relieved.
As in this excerpt, we find Skeans, looking back
and forwards, parting words. Changing mass, into
above, so below.
at semantikon dot com