Robert Yarber exhibits new drawings from his Calaveras Gnosticos series in “Irrational Exuberance (!)” Further taking up the travels and travails of his dapper skeletal protagonist, Yarber pays homage to Posada, the Mexican lithographer, and the Meso-American culture that reveres the laughing skull every November during the annual Day of the Dead.
The title of the exhibit, “Irrational Exuberance (!),” is a term that has been used to describe the behavior of traders during speculative binges in the market. Our grinning hero suffers the raptures of excessive enthusiasm, and gleefully undergoes various tests of courage in pursuit of his treasured goal, the enlightened understanding that everything is, finally, of “One Taste.” In caverns and mountain passes, he confronts the depleted sublime of Romanticism, and there is revivified by the vision of the solidification of solar goodness, gold! In “WWWWW?” he traverses the chambers of a Neo-Platonic system of caves, where he withstands the exercises of the Seeker struggling to break out of the moist depths to enjoy a martini poolside at a swank resort. In “Are We There Yet?” he confronts an ancient Sumerian despot who disencumbers him of his materialist load of bullion, only to ultimately find bliss perched on his bony finger in the form of a bird of the field. In “A Cigar is Never Just a Cigar,” subject to spiritual priapism, he welds the vulgar display of the solar wand as a burden of his poetic vocation.
The drawings are richly detailed investigations into the mythic structure of the crazed desires that sometimes wrack and wreck our studied composure and disciplined comportment. They bring to bear with both skill and humor the artist’s confrontation of a world giddy with absurd excess. From “Gold”, Eisenstein’s unproduced Hollywood screenplay of 1930, we recall the besmirched madman rolling in the mud before his startled attendants, and his pensive cry: “Gold! Gold! It’s all Gold!” These drawings, according to the artist: “aren’t cautionary morality tales, but exhortations to further Folly.”
A celebration, to be sure, of “Irrational Exuberance (!)”
THIS SHOW IS DEICATED TO PAVEL TCHELITCHEW, PETER SAUL, AND PAPA GEDE.