Derivative Tales

Narratives give us the stories according to which we imagine the lives we live. In other words, they tell us our tales. But so many of the stories we make use of now are contrivances made for sale, bartered dreams already mortgaged to the hilt by the time we get the loan of them. We pass through the stories that come out of ads and tabloids. We read our family histories in relation to received legends of the cultural past. We take our place in the culture according to a scenario written elsewhere, in another moment and before our time, or out of synch with the our circumstances, while trying to figure out how to be present to ourselves in spite of the story we are being told. The contradiction between realized and real is glaring. Here, the gaps are shown, vividly and strikingly. A girl sits on a couch caught between an image she is able to create and a life she doesn't want to lead. A suite of stories offers itself as an explanation for any number of events. A stereotype leaps out at us and suggests that we might want to imagine another version of events. An innocuous image, barely a snapshot, hardly a document, suddenly catches the corner of our eye and shows us some disturbing detail that has to be explained in a sequence of causes and effects. Or in another case, a highly suggestive, provocative, disturbingly, moody glimpse into a character's existence seems to promise that a tale will unfold - but it doesn't. All are responses to the formulaic expectations pandered by the industries of fiction and fantasy, and each is its own fantastic offering to the imaginative mind, seeking a way to let experience out from under the constraints of tale-telling long enough to contrive an alternative set of events. We live in these derivatives, like financial instruments leveraged on an imagined future, gambling that the outcome will follow the course of happy endings.

Emily McVarish - Was Here
Clifton Meador - The Nameless Dead
Ruth Laxson - A Hundered Years of Lex Flex
Raymond Pettibon - Plots on Loan II
Robert Colescott - Tastess Lik Chicken
Dana Hoey - Dynasty
Justine Kurland - Slumber Party & Roadkill
Geoff McGann - Untitled & Untitled & Untitled
Kevin Everson - Subway short film
Larry Sultan - Boxer Dogs, Mission Hills and West Valley Studio #3
Scott Greene - Civil Serpent