…and Possessing Youth Eternal
Plastic, oil paint, silver serving tray, cushions, blankets, ottoman, wood, steel, epoxy. H:82” W:30” D:24” 2011.
…and Possessing Youth Eternal is based on Michelangelo’s Bacchus. A youth of indeterminate age stands with an Xbox 360 controller in his left hand in place of the original grapes; the system itself is at his foot in place of the Satyr. In place of the wine bowl he holds a cell phone. He is reading a text message.
The figure, which is four feet tall, or approximately 2/3 life size, stands atop a “pedestal” of conceptually informing objects: an ottoman, cushions, and comforters, all of which suggest ease and comfort. This “pedestal” serves the practical purpose of elevating the figure to a height appropriate for viewing, but is also a conceptual play on the pedestal in fine art, integrating and contextualizing the figure rather than isolating and decontextualizing it, as pedestals traditionally do.
Sculpted in oil clay, the finished figure is cast plastic painted in oil. Plastic is, for me, the material of appearances, of seeming to be, of faux pearls and wood veneer, but also of media representations of reality, 24-hour news and talk-radio.
The title is a line describing Bacchus from Longfellow’s “Drinking Song.” The sculpture likens the perpetual revelry of Bacchic rites to the perpetual adolescence encouraged by consumer capitalism and, in turn, likens the loss of self associated with the consumption of wine with capitalist consumption.