Writers Reading: Jerry D. Mathes II

Writers Reading: Jerry D. Mathes II. Recorded this in a hotel room in Bakersfield, California.  Proud to be included in the wonderful new online video lit mag, SPACES.  Be sure to see the other great works there.

I am interested in this collusion between technology and art and how we use it to express ourselves. This must be the same impulse that led to the cave paintings at places like Lascaux and Altamira up to 35,000 years ago, utilizing the new discoveries of mineral pigments and engraving and the complex techniques of line, figure, color, chiaroscuro, perspective–the art of image making and drawing. There exists evidence that these people also built scaffolds so as to paint higher than they could reach.  The paintings are the results from the experiments of curious, problem solving minds and, importantly, the expressive mind.  But the paintings themselves existed as part of a living community and not in an isolated gallery.  If I may be indulgent, I imagine those Upper Paleolithic peoples also telling stories in front of those paintings.  Not just how to hunt and survive stories either.  The images are astronomic patterns and combinations that suggest both superstitious rituals and spiritual expression.  We can see these ancient people deepening their understanding of the world, their place in it, and perpetuating their culture through art.

Picasso said, “After Altamira, all is decadence.”  I have to disagree.  We are still doing the same thing those prehistoric people did. We are trying to make sense of the world, interpret the world, tell stories that are instructive, enlightening, and artistic. And like them we are trying to both understand ourselves and push our culture forward.  From the individual to the many.  We are just utilizing and devising different technologies and ways to exceed our reach in our own caves.


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