Last year, I received an email from an artist in nearby Pittsburgh with a curious request. In the final year of a three year MFA program at Carnegie-Mellon in sculpture, Jonathan Armistead wanted me (ME!) to sit on his graduate advisory committee. How could I resist an offer to shape the final, indelible moments of a single artist's academic career?
As you might expect, Jonathan's work follows the sinewy, comedic contours of sexuality, masculinity, and creativity that shape my own interest. His final thesis project re-imagines the conventional public fountain as a site of private satisfaction. Jonathan privileges the mundane paraphernalia common to any typical online masturbation ritual-- the quotidian office chair (painted in flesh-like approximation), the Kleenex box (quivering, vaginal), the lotion bottle-- to corral us all a little closer to that discomforting triangulation of boredom, urgency, and alienation which often define articulations of pleasure. That's my take at least, as his adviser.
It was more fun than I expected to sit on the firing end of a critique. It wasn't too long ago that I completed my own MFA. I hope Jonathan appreciated it as much as I did. Sometimes I think you learn more as a teacher than a student. To see more of Jonathan's brilliant work, click HERE.