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installation at OCHAC - The Old CourtHouse Arts Center, Woodstock, Illinois

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artist statements • essay by B. David Zarley • OCHAC CATALOG

bert leveille: essay by B. David Zarley

Waves Don’t Die

~ ~ ~l ~l ~L~Look, bert is trying, right?, they’re all trying, artists and philosophers and physicists and priests and economists and mathematicians and computer scientists, their artificial intelligences and machine learning algorithms, they’re all trying to hook into that vespine vibe, Yoda’s catechism, the Collective Consciousness; every single one of them wants to channel the Collective Consciousness, and not a single arrant one has a true, definitive Answer, no bat phone with which they can call it up, which means they all have an Answer, and bert’s seems as possible, then, as any of t~t~T~There’s a true purpose to what they are doing here, to the the canvas, naked and raw, inviting in its softness and lack of manipulation; to the alien figures—they are like us in gestural form, less physiology than a spirit, less a figure than a feeling—who first bewilder, next frighten, next coax through chimerical, impossible dance, apian language, coquettish motion, come join us, uncanny valley bridged by dancing limbs, colonial beckoning into bert’s attempt to dial us up, or in the very least inspire us to try, to join what they call “mindful figures,” who stretch like the event horizon, limbs like coat hangers and ampersands, bodies free from the brutal oppression of outline and anatomy, black and grey with gilded obliques, violet hair, sanguine lips, eyes abyssal yet alive, abalone chests and clavicles, different and yet us, a possible us, who dance freely along the tops of the nanowaves surfing the universe like, well, the Silver Surfer, because bert knows all figures are the same, right?, they all connect b~b~B~Bathed in light, and the light’s really part of it, right?, cold to warm and back again, the sidereal cycle of life and the universe, blue violet red orange yellow green blue violet … light is both a particle and a wave, and those waves wash over everything; they emanate from spots—circles are everywhere! superannuated ring pulls, open up!—and encompass the canvas; they break in all directions, an impossible surf, bouncing off the ceiling, the floor, the cones, the selenic stages on which the mindful figures dance, light as atmosphere, as analogue to the Collective Consciousness, flying even out the window and into the square and into space—wave’s don’t die—and they want a ripple from this art, the frequency of which changes everything around it and bounces off the silver which ~f~f~F~Flows from time itself; from toe-walking and unaffordable ballet lessons and a longstanding love of dance, from a silver born with the split of an atom, argent beacons that bounce off that wonderful light, and it’s all connected!, all of it!, you and me and bert and the mindful figures, the light waves and memories and physical paintings they’re throwing into the water to send ripples—signals—across the surface of the Collective Consciousness; it’s all there, time and space and particles and waves, and bert wants you to just surf … welcome to us all, locals only meaning the universe…

B. David Zarley
writer, art critic





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