Monday, October 02, 2006

A Guy Called Gerald

Don't look back in anger, Gerald Davis. Your nostalgia is tainted by resentment, fear, and victimhood. Indeed, you must have felt so helpless against the fear of death. Late Cold War paranoia, death in the family, and acknowledging your fragile physiology made you so vulnerable, it's no wonder that your drawings are so tender, despite the formal restrictions you impose: monochrome, diptych format, obsessive rendering, and nice, big paper.

You relish some cultural, historical signifiers, like the "Vuarnet France" logo, E.T. and LaCoste polo knits. But most of your memories are darker. Other kids bully you by pushing you in a closet and writing "Fag Boy" on your chest; a family member scrutinizes and condemns your joy in Disney animation; your Grandmother passes away; you get lost in the woods; your body feels absurd and exposed; Armageddon arrives and people are processed in a fiery, intestinal hell. Your apocalyptic outlook belies your youthful innocence. "How can someone so young, say words so sad?" sang Morrissey.

This end-of-the-world obsession fuels "Watching 'Testament,'" the 1983 film about nuclear armageddon. You remember yourself watching the film and relating to Scottie Wetherly, fatally ill from radiation. Horrific demons slither and ooze between your thoughts and organs. You understand your mortality, which makes the film so poignant, and you understand the film, which makes your mortality so terrifying. A vicious cycle.

Has it gotten any better?

did you see the shit at salon 94? looked better but havent seen it yet
Sorry for the late response, anon - got caught up with the other stuff. Haven't seen Salon 94 work, but did see it on th e Saatchi site - Gerald is in "USA Today!" Also, Holland Cotter reviewed it in the Times, but missed the reference to "Testament," which seemed like a fundamental landmark in the show - the Cold War connection gives the show more currency than mere autobiography.
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