InLiquid Presents, Toward a Better Existence, by Charles Livingston

livingston-featureJuly 9 – Aug 23, 2009
Reception: Thursday, July 9, 6-9pm
Location: The Hall
Hours: Wed – Sun 12-6pm

In Towards a Better Existence, Livingston investigates the concepts and meaning of artists’ statements, incorporating printed excerpts of approximately 3000 found statements—by unidentified artists—that use the words “I” and “my.” Artist Lawrence Weiner made an astute, yet obvious statement regarding artistic intent: “we can’t judge anybody’s intent. We have to take it for granted that each person making art has a benevolent approach towards it. That each revolution is leading towards somebody’s aspiration towards a better existence.” In Towards a Better Existence, Charles Livingston investigates the idea that in most instances, the artist’s statement—a declaration of intent or feeling about their work, state of being and/or circumstances—reveals more about their ideas than the visual equivalent. Any course of action or the creation of something begins as a concept that is articulated in language. Unlike visual artwork that goes through various stages of filtration, the statement is only one step removed from the concept. Livingston deduces that if artists are trying to make the world a better place, their collective intentions form a type of unifying gestalt.

Using approximately 3,000 artist statements, Livingston transcribed any sentence that contained the word “I” and “my.” Explaining his process, Livingston, “I needed an initial organizing parameter and noticed that artists who use a first person point of view with the words ‘I’ and ‘my’ are initially taking responsibility for their ideas and artwork.” Using a grid and the location of “I” and “my” on each page, Livingston assigns 69 individual voices saying “I” and “my” to create an accompanying sound work. Most of Charles Livingston’s work explores perceptual and experiential issues associated with accretion and accumulative processes.

According to Charles Livingston, “Toward a Better Existence is about the contemporary collective experience as part of a larger discourse. Each artist’s statement sentence in the installation extracted from the original text causes the sentence to become more pronounced as it operates outside a connected flow of ideas. We read it in a different way rather than if it was part of a continuously thought out and developing idea.”

*Charles Livingston* is a visual and graphic artist who has worked in painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, sound art, and rug design. Livingston studied graphic design at the Colorado Institute of Art and received his B.F.A. with an emphasis in art history from Metropolitan State College of Denver. As an undergraduate student, he worked as a custom rug designer and exhibited his paintings and sculpture with several galleries in the Denver area. Livingston exhibited Growth and Decay at the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, Colorado and also showed paintings at Andenken Gallery in Denver in 2002. Livingston received his M.F.A from the University of Connecticut in 2004. During that time he produced a CD of sound works that originated from his experiences of working in the studio called soundsketches: a compilation of sound art. He also published Accrete: A Compilation of Notes, Diagrams, Drawings, and Journal Entries, a catalog of his working process.

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