[Ed. Note: guest blogger A. M. Kerstetter brings this interview with multimedia artists Mores McWreath. Kerstetter’s previous entry, on the Chapbook Festival at City University of New York Graduate Center can be found here.]
Artist Mores McWreath works in a variety of media from animation to performance-based video to photography, drawing, painting, and sculpture. In this diverse range, he frequently “transforms found media and what [he] doesn’t find outside [his] head, [he] finds inside of it. His art—an interstitial exhibition of video and images aptly named “Between Everywhere”—was recently featured by M+B and Francois Ghebaly Gallery. In addition, he is also a freelance post-production artist and an instructor at The Cooper Union.
What are you currently working on, starting up, or finishing up?
I have a number of serial projects that I continually add to, so I’m always working on those. They include “Everything’s Better,” which is a series of 30-second videos that can be individually looped or curated into groupings, and “Reinscribe-Scribble,” which are animated shorts ranging in duration from a few seconds to two minutes. It is important to me to maintain these growing projects that are in perpetual continuum. I guess I just don’t like to end things.
Today, I’m going to a baking supply store to get food dyes to make homemade body paint so I can neutralize my flesh tone and hair into a singular pale peach. This will be for a video that I am shooting in which I use my body to explore the potential of non-linguistic sculptural forms of communication. I am also making an epic airbrush painting exploring the ability of old-school advertising techniques to elevate the banal into high drama like making waiting in traffic feel heroic.
Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from a vast array of sources. I make lists that bring together disparate thoughts and ideas so I am constantly jotting down observed and invented phrases, movements, slogans, bits of dialogue, poetry, etc. I may find a web ad or a moment in an 80′s sci-fi movie that really hits a nerve and I’ll capture it. I maintain vast libraries of video art, movie posters, odd images from Google image search, and pictures of myself in thousands of different poses. I also record the hundreds of songs I’ve made up that focus on domestic life and household chores.
Who has been the greatest influence on your work?
I think the best way to answer this would be to make a list:
Andrea Zittel, Roland Barthes, Charlie White, Hans Haacke, Walid Raad, Dara Birnbaum, Michael Bay, Anthony Robbins, Cathy Park Hong, Michael Smith, Stan Douglas, Samuel Beckett, Frances Stark, Devo, Paul Pfeiffer, Hermine Freed, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Stanley Kubrick, Harun Farocki, Christian Marclay, Robert Bordo, Drew Struzan, Sharon Lockhart
How do you consider your art interstitial?
My art is interstitial not only in content but in form. My practice is driven by a kind of core ambivalent in-betweenness. This directs the form of my work into short fragmented pieces that come together like piles of rubble or building blocks. The content of my work hovers between states of sincerity, comedy, irony, banality, the surreal, etc. I can’t understand the binary because nothing in my experience fits into one side or the other, there’s always a constellation of positions. The most interesting place for me and one that is perhaps infinitely elusive is the space of liminality, the zone immediately between things where distinction is utterly lost. I seek out hints of these ideas in my work with each piece being an active example of a type of neutral. This term comes from Roland Barthes series of lectures titled The Neutral and it has come to define many of the parameters of my own artistic search.
Has being interstitial (i.e. creating art that falls outside recognized genre and marketing categories) created difficulties for you? If so, how?
When I was younger I imagined having multiple career paths allowing me to become successful in several different areas simultaneously. The reality is that it can be extremely difficult to move forward along a single path, let alone two or three paths. Within my community of peers, working in different media is relatively common so I don’t feel like working between genres is a negative at all. In terms of the marketplace, I think it is always much harder to generate interest when you don’t fit into a preconceived notion of an artistic category.
What strategies have you used to get around this? What advice would you give to another interstitial artist in a similar position?
The advice that I’ve gotten that makes the most sense to me is to not depend on your art to make a living. I believe that art should exist without an artist having to intentionally fulfill a demand from the marketplace. This advice of course comes from artists who teach for a living and there is a certain perspective that is taught by those who make their primary living as educators. I mention this not to undermine the advice but to illuminate the complexity of the situation. I too teach but it is not my primary source of income. The strategy that I have used to be a successful interstitial artist is to take on paying work that influences my art work in a way that I desire. I have worked in motion graphics and advertising and this has been a huge benefit for me as an artist. I think it is important to develop a broad perspective of the world and part of that is to exist in the world of commerce outside of art.
|Two artists, many stripes, one voice: an interview with S.J. Tucker & Catherynne M. Valente||Interview with Megan Kurashige – Dancer, Performer, Writer|