“Not in that commonwealth. Not in that precinct. Not on the floor of that kitchen in that home on that fake street in that made-up town with no name”
(2022) 8” x 10” gouache and glitter on wood panel
“‘I mean really,’ said the priest with an ominous glimmer in its eye. ‘If you think you won’t see me again because you aren’t made of mortal flesh, think again. If I were you, I’d get running for my American life.’”
(2022) gouache, oil and glitter on wood panel 8”x 10”
" “We were all swapping stories so I told them about my uncle who almost worked with Jim Henson to develop the muppets. But then my uncle had this vision. He was visited by an important resident from a foreign planet who told him that Jim Henson had been sent to earth to kill my uncle, specifically. So my uncle ended up being committed to an in-patient clinic and Jim Henson made the muppets. I thought it was pretty funny but my company looked uncomfortable.”
(2022) 8” x 10” gouache, oil and glitter on wood panel
"Beholding her, I said to myself: this woman is powerful and intelligent and 38 years old." (2022) gouache, oil and glitter on wood panel
“The messages from the night before had gone through. No. No. No. No. No.
‘and I put my hand out and
touched the moving train or more like pet it like it was a beast like a panther or a leopard and the metal went blunk blunk blunk against my finger tips
So when you put your hand out and feel the train passing you realize its like life like the train is moving
and life is motion and the. Key is to stay in the present and enjoy the feeling of it passing. And also
tthat there’s always a choice like in every moment there are choices and not just two choices…forward v backward or god v no god or even life v Death…but many choices and honestly it made Me cry like you just start to cry in a moment like that because YOu feel so
The response came the following day.
‘Fun times. Catch up later, roaming rates are crazy x’”
(2022) 8” x 8” gouache, oil and toy on wood
"The priest sniffed its palm, like snow has more than one smell (it does).
'The snow teaches us things. It is night and it is snowing.'"
(2022) 8" x 10" gouache and glitter on wood
"The guru clutched its knees. 'I didn't see another option, but I didn't want to do the thing everyone does, so I didn't do either thing, and then he died.'"
(2022) 8" x 8" gouache, colored pencil, glitter and toys on wood
"The priest tapped its foot in an oh-so-familiar rhythm,. 'I don't believe in God, but I do believe in Hell.'" (2022) 8" x 10" gouache, glitter, colored pencil and paper on wood
"And it smiled, not an amused or condescending smile, but a late-stage smile, a smile of joy and pain on a shrunk down scale, opposite dwarves, roaming ambiguous dwarves.'"
(2022) 8" x 10" gouache, oil and glitter on wood
"'The genie shrugged. The stone on its headpiece looked like a shiny beetle.
'...freedom is the capacity to choose your struggle and no child no child of mine will struggle to see the sky as anything but a milk-colored mask to cover yesterday's mouth and the window not as a window but as a reflection of the floor's own shining"
(2022) 8" x 8" gouache and glitter on wood
"Yes, I'd stab them,' said the priest. 'Thank you. I'd stab the Victim and the Prostitute and the Advocate and the Angel. Thank you very much. I'd stab the Saboteur and the Artist. I'd stab the Wizard and the Child right in the chest.'"
(2022) 8" x 10" gouache and glitter on wood
"An ersatz peace, no more than a superficial peace, a peace neither blind nor diplomatic but rather ceremonial, like a believer released from the throes of rapture. The submission of a body beaten, or well-fed."
(2022) 8" x 8" gouache and glitter on wood
"Then it said: 'I'm out of this world. Deal with it. Once every four days, you'll be seeing me.'" (2022) 8" x 8" gouache and glitter on wood
"'Smart ass,' said the teacher. 'There are dreams and there are DREAMS. If there was life on Mars, it's dead now." (2022) 8" x 8" gouache, glitter and toys on wood
"I imagine he meant to disturb me. But I am no flower. I have been alive for more than thirty years and I, too, have thought many ugly things." (2022) 8" x 8"
“Then the texts really got going.
‘The kitty looked fake and it was so when I reached out saying ‘here kitty kitty kitty’ it obviously didnt respond but it didnt NOT respond either so I stroked its teeny paws and snuggled its itty bitty nose like we were in a painting of a person and a cat by a Fire or more like a crude diagram while everYone around us was
(2022) 9” x 10” gouache and oil on wood
“And I said to myself: ‘This woman is from the Alps. No, she is actually made of snow—I can tell from her white arms and nose like a boiled sweet she is not from the country of shiny coats and conspicuous noise but rather from the opposite world. She is made of snow and will melt in the light of it. I know her, I know her’”
(2021) 9” x 12” gouache, pastel and glitter on wood
“Took a pair of scissors and snipped the donkey’s tail then tried to glue it to my head but it would not stick to me I could not put it back, my boy I could not put it back”
(2021) 10” x 10” gouache and glitter on wood
I am the chief of the tribe of ties I’ve come to sanitize the centrally-heated dreams smeared across your faces As you float lesson to water-logged lesson like valuables in a flood
There you go, all doom and gloom Mr. Sad Man if this is a flood, it’s the Great Flood if this is a menagerie it’s an arc of animals parakeet, muskrat, poodle stretch your hands to them, show them your boundary-less love
Who taught you to be everything and nothing? Your top is tea(r)-stained and the toilet seat’s been stolen
what I thought was a eucharist turned out to be a donut what I thought was a great flood turned out to be spilt milk
He who cleans spilt milk does not cry for it. Call it something call it nothing. Call yourself the architect of your own anecdote fictive and vital on this blue planet of conflicted children"
(2021) 10" x 10" gouache, oil and glitter on wood
“You keep falling in and out of your own name
like a star fixed to twinkle realistically on the ceiling of a ventilated theater”
(2021) 10" x 10" gouache, oil and glitter on wood
Where do I find these violent, pleasant people? They show me the only thing worth fighting for, or almost the only thing.
The little red berry”
(2021) 10" x 10", gouache on wood
"I'm not a schemer," said the priest. "I'm an entrepreneur." (2021) 10" x 10", gouache and glitter on wood
“Dreamt I saw a circus tent
cut in the shape of continents
and not one of them was home, my dear
not one of them was home”
(2021) 10” x 10” gouache, oil and glitter on wood
“‘Lighting a Fire’ features three short films that run simultaneously on three separate screens. On each screen, Person One issues a series of instructions to Person Two, guiding them through the motions of turning on a piece of kitchen equipment (oven, toaster, microwave) without touching the device themself. The piece is shaped by the following constraint: Person One is not allowed to turn on the appliance, nor are they allowed to tell Person Two to turn on the appliance . Therefore, Person One must find an alternative (and more circuitous) set of commandments to see this simple motion to completion.
The piece borrows its conceptual framework from Orthodox Judaism, which prohibits the use of electrical devices on the Sabbath. I am interested in how the simple rules of a faith, Jewish or otherwise, might paradoxically complicate simple procedures. In this piece, Person One issues awkward directives (“Lift your hand to the white box”) that Person Two fumbles to enact. The film series might be read as a meditation on how belief might complicate one’s negotiation of the world, even as it purports to supply clarity and direction. To subscribe to the simple rules of a belief system is actually quite hard. It often requires--as these films suggest-- a surplus of compensatory maneuvers as one’s faith presses up against material reality. Person One’s stilted speech acts might enact the struggle to find adequate language as one confronts these limitations.
Significantly, the dynamic between Person One and Person Two raises questions about language, faith, and human relationships. Person Two is allowed to touch the appliances; in this sense, they have more freedom than Person One within the parameters of the art piece. Person Two functions, then, as a kind of vessel: the means by which Person One executes their will. I’m interested in such moments between individuals; how one person might pour their beliefs into another, or, conversely, find a sense of purpose or identity carrying another’s beliefs. In doing so, each person uses the other as a means of imaginative survival.”
“Maybe that’s what history is: a crease in the mask of the present.
Signed, the Four-Armed One”
(2021) 10” x 10” gouache and oil on wood
"'Interview with an Angel on the subject of Genre'
Q: Your work seems to register as an amalgamation of literary genres cast onto the visual plane: auto-fiction, poetry, metaphysics, science fiction. What is more, you utilize a range of materials: paint, clay, and now, three-dimensional paper constructions.How do you account for the genre of your art? There’s a sense that you’re circling around a mentor text that doesn’t exist, and I'd like to hear about that. In other words, how do these discrete artworks add up? This is also a question about your work’s narrative center.
A: As John Ashbery asks, “is anything central?” The shape of this story is the voice’s circuitous growth. You asked about genre. Let’s call it Lianelliam Fiction. That’s millennial backwards. One step forwards, two steps backwards. Slow to grow. But still, we grow.
Q: So your genre is historically-specific?
A: My art holds history “in solution,” to borrow a phrase from Raymond Williams. I think that different genres--from Shakespearean tragedy to abstract expressionism--can represent historically-situated emotions that have yet to be solidified into institutional frameworks.In other words, a given genre holds the emotional residue of the historical moment in which it was created. Take Greek tragedy, for example. When one adheres to the stylistic conventions of a Greek tragedy, a certain affective history is invariably brought to the surface, like a shovel turning over top soil. The idea, here, is that history is never really “over;” it’s part of the geology of the present. My work holds the emotional residue of the pandemic and its aftermath. That history is the one I aim to represent.
Q: You’re saying that the form of this visual novel--these vignettes or snapped-off impressions--say something about the atrophied attention and fractured subjectivity symptomatic of this historical moment. You’re saying something about the internet. A person wiggles their hips to a pop song and then disappears, as fast as water washes away soap suds.
A: Maybe. You could put it like that, though the diagnosis you offer sounds a bit nihilistic. This genre contains many digressions but it displays a subtle inner momentum. I prefer to see Lianelliam Fiction as a loving homage to my generation as it enters the next phase of its already- receding cultural relevance."
(2021) paper, gouache, colored pencil, sharpie, tape, John Ashbery, Raymond Williams
“No,” said the priest with a dreamy smile. It looked like a charmed snake. “In such circumstances, love is the underpainting. An orange atmosphere.”
(2021) 10” x 10” gouache, oil, charcoal and glitter on wood
"Tell me who I am, really. The Queen of the Grasshoppers holds her arm up for shade. The Princess of the Moths stuffs sugar in her socks. One insect is Rudolph Valentino and the other is The Sheik. One insect is The Sheik and the other is The Son of the Sheik. Together, they are two fingers on a three-fingered hand. The fingers cross, signaling a wish or a lie. The fingers uncross, signaling genitals, or peace. Finger One moves towards the middle of the table, gets scared, runs home. Finger Two says, I’ll go with you, silly goose, and the two walk together like two good legs. They stomp their feet in a happy jig or a fit of rage. 'No, no, no,' they laugh. 'There is not only one person left at the end of the world.'”
(2021) 8" x 10" gouache, oil and glitter on wood
“....The language of Simchanese consists of only three vowels and six consonants, meaning that speakers utilize pitch to differentiate between words. For example, “Glkeh” translates roughly to “sage” or “genius” while “GLK-eh” is slang for “garbage” (a closer translation might be “shit.”)
Simchanese also has no tenses; all actions take place in the present. There is no vocabulary for approaching or receding. The language can therefore only describe what is directly visible, though there is a word for “hidden.”
Perhaps most significantly, Simchanese uses the verb “to enjoy” instead of the verb “to be.” So instead of saying “I am going to the store,” one would say “Ke Kee TsKi ih,” which literally translates to “I enjoy store going” (the gerund follows the noun). Instead of saying “I am an accountant, one would say, “I enjoy an accountant.” To say “I was an accountant” (a rare and awkward sentence given the culture’s orientation towards the visible present), one would have to say, “I enjoy a dead accountant,” “dead” indicating the past tense. To speak of the future, as in “I will be an accountant,” one adds “not ripe” to the sentence: “I enjoy a not ripe accountant.”
It is also important to note the function of laughter in the Simchanese language and, in turn, the Simcha culture. In Simchanese, laughter is used as a general indicator of recognition or understanding. It is perfectly normal--respectful, even--to laugh when you find out someone is dead, in the manner “XChe Ehi Hi” (Literally translates to: “My grandma enjoy death,” or, “My grandma is dead.”) “Xs Xs! Xhi!” (“Haha, Wow!” There is no vocabulary of apology or regret in Simchanese; general exclamations are always those of wonder, in the manner of “Wow” or “Woah.”)
The imbrication of humor and tragedy in Simcha culture is further exemplified by the word for “laugh,” “Xli,” which is also the free morpheme in the Simchanese words for suicide, famine, and pestilence.”
(2021) 10” x 10” gouache and oil on wood
"Here is a pertinent origin story. On Pothos, a planet three million light years away from this one, discarded cell phones were buried in landfills on artificial islets that floated above the planet’s surface. For centuries, these small land masses—which drifted miles above ground level—were of little consequence to the planet’s inhabitants. On particularly sunny days, they could be glimpsed overhead and were thought, by some, to be quite beautiful. Purple and rosy, they looked like pieces of floating mica. As more waste was added to the islands, however, they became increasingly heavy. Some started to break. A small piece of one islet fell to the planet’s surface, killing several civilians. What is more, there was growing concern that the chemicals in the landfills were seeping into the atmosphere and poisoning the planet’s water supply. Scientists, engineers and government officials gathered to craft a solution. The toxins could be distilled and liquified into a substance that was not overtly harmful to this planet’s brother planet, Planet Earth. When boiled down and filtered through a series of tubes, the chemical waste took on the consistency of human tears and mucus mixed together. The planet’s officials arranged to have thousands of tons of waste converted into this liquid substance to be shipped and covertly deposited on Earth. The substance was to be quietly released as a light precipitation. What was not known was that as the droplets fell, they would mingle with the atmosphere to assume the shape of fully-formed people. These beings primarily took the form of human men (there were, however, some women, and this was always due to a slight and arbitrary variation in the chemical ratios of a given droplet). Formed from the recycled remnants of digital communication mixed with rain water, these droplets continue to roam the Earth to this day, belonging to no one, unable to go home. This is why, every once in a while, you see the face of the absent one in the face of a stranger."
(2021) clay, gouache, toys
" 'Prayer puzzle' is a participatory art piece that spans several floors of the gallery. The viewer begins by articulating a wish into a large voice-sensitive pad on the first floor. For example, one might pray for an approved mortgage. The prayer should be extremely straight-forward, so as to lessen the likelihood that the machine misunderstands one’s request. Indeed, it is extremely important that one speaks very clearly into the pad because a sound mash-up of church organs, squawking birds, and Ava Max’s “Sweet but Psycho” loudly emanates from gallery speakers, impeding the machine’s ability to correctly process verbal cues. Whatever the machine hears will automatically be sent to a second pad upstairs. If one is lucky, their actual words (“approved mortgage”) will successfully make their way to the second pad. It is quite likely, however, that the phrase will become something else, like “used blowtorch” or “removed forest.” At the second pad, these new words are added to a large data-base of every previous visitor’s wishes. For example, if you originally wished for an approved mortgage, that request may have been shuffled with another person’s wish to get into college, and the words “get into college” may have been recorded as “ride a toboggan.” The words “ride a toboggan” are subsequently forwarded to a third pad, along with an adjective pulled at random from a children’s encyclopedia of ocean life: “ride a gelatinous toboggan.” This request will be denied (a gelatinous toboggan has no structural integrity, how could you ask for such a thing??), but, in the final gallery, one is able to choose between a complimentary snack of peanuts, pretzels, cookies, or, supplies permitting, two of the three."