Three Visuals by Spencer Selby
(click on images to enlarge)
See You in The Park
I would like to start with a work, titled See You in The Park, which I especially liked when Selby posted it on Facebook a couple of years ago. It still belongs to my favorites. I see two chaoses in the picture: a big one, limited only by the screen, and a smaller one, included into it almost neatly (because of the rectangular shape). Two chaoses are less than one: they mean something, their relationship is exciting. The “park” is domesticated nature, so we might be safe there – especially if our memory is short (or if we are not good at anxiety). But his park is as chaotic inside as the “whole” outside. There is no difference in that respect. We are saved. We are not. And it concerns human relations as well. The park might be the place of a real or imaginary rendezvous. (Alternatively: I see you, Chaos, in the park.) (Therefore I can glimpse the Park, too, in any chaos.)
I needed the title to be able to understand the story (or forge one). The piece is similar in its style/methodology to many other recent pieces Selby has shared on the internet. But there are cases when he adds a title, and there are cases when he doesn’t. I actually love when he does. His titles (oftentimes more or less mysterious quotations) bring back a textual layer. It is not uncommon in “asemic writing” (“vispo”? “glitch art?”: I am not good at categorization, and will be content with writing short comments on a couple of works), but his titles are unusually strong. The distance between them and what we can see is big enough, but surmountable. I see tension, I see sadness, I see humor, and acceptance with a pinch of bitterness. (I simply watch the movie.)
The strongest connection between them doesn’t belong to them: they are together (until their they-ness totally disappears) in this painterly decay, in this process of dissolving. They are connected by something that is stronger than them – or is it? If only they knew/had known (depending on which perspective we choose: both are allowed), they, perhaps, could be/could have been … . Insert any feeling (notably: illusionlessly compassionate, as I read the signs written over their faces). But this is not a Rorschach test, rather: “the poem is a prolonged hesitation between sound and meaning”.
What I really like in many of Selby’s images is that they suggest multiple perspectives. (They generally avoid the traps of being a mere design or being one-dimensionally sarcastic.) We are half-way between despair and delight. And it is even funny. But no matter what the name of the next stop is, the image itself is delightful. Pain and humor combine. And, yes, he can reach similar effect without titles as well, like in the last image that I include in this small collection:
It is produced by and against the same wind of horizontal decay which is familiar from the previous composition, and from many other more or less recent works by Selby. I see a tapestry - showing the right time. Everything is in motion, but the motion itself is frozen forever, thanks to the vertical weaving. The vertical hand of the clock dominates over the horizontal one. It seems to be somehow unwoven into the work, almost like authoring it. But is it really so? We still have a little – just a very little – time before the hand fully reaches its vertical position. Before and after are nonsensical here, but at a different level (that of the unstoppable thoughts and feelings), nothing is definite yet.
Márton Koppány lives in Budapest, Hungary.