John Felix Arnold III’s impressive installation, interactive altar, and exhibition of original drawings and mixed media works that comprise his solo show, Should I Stay Or Should I Go at Old Crow Tattoo and Gallery is fundamentally a recreation of a fantastic environment that acts as a vehicle for performance and ritual. Should I Stay Or Should I Go invites viewers to contemplate situations that determine the future of humanity and planetary events, while concurrently give praise for hope in the present.
Arnold’s mixed-media paintings and original drawings combine a fine art aesthetic and a Japanese style with a graphic novel and comics approach. He layers fantastic imagery with subversive commentary to create a hybrid reality. Human forms the artist refers to as “Astroknots” often anchor the narrative of his works while aesthetic forms writhe and contort around and toward them. Arnold’s Astroknots inevitably turn on their human creators, threaten humans’ place in both nature and society, and cause mankind to shelter themselves from the obliterated remnants of their former world. This narrative rests on a background composed of almost ectoplasmic layers and abstracted material that represent chaotic scientific creations as well as the energies of change and movement.
The found-art shelter installation for Should I Stay Or Should I Go depicts one of these almost primitive, man-made shelters constructed by the people of this fabricated, post-apocalyptic world. The sound piece within the installation is composed of conversations between the inhabitants of this shelter. When inside the piece the audience is immersed in the conversations and the environment created. The interactive altarpiece installation constructed of a decaying motorcycle chassis is also styled in Arnold’s “neo-cave painting” style, and works in similar ways but for a different purpose. A static altar piece used for ritual and stoic meditation upon loved ones who one has lost made of a transportational machine immediately raises questions and explores how one can both stay still and observe, and yet move onwards as an active participant.
Should I Stay or Should I Go will be at Old Crow Tattoo & Gallery through August 13