SEEKERS OF CALI
Max Roemer and UCSD Park & Market present The Seekers of Cali, a series of sculptures and paintings that are variations on California archetypes, reimagining Rodin's Burghers of Calais.
The Seekers of Cali is a new series of painting and sculptures by Max Roemer that reimagines Rodin's Burghers of Calais and explores variations on an archetype that defines the California character.
Seekers are nowhere found more commonly than in California. They embody the experience shared by most people in California, the reality of 40m people in California, 4m people in San Diego. The Seeker is lost by definition, in place or time, left behind by another age, ahead of times. The Seeker is a wanderer, immigrant and emigrant, uprooted, lost and searching, not just for prosperity, digging for gold, but for wholeness, healing. 49ers all, with the Gold Rush as the founding myth.
More than in any other place people here are not from here. They come here, for many reasons and on many path, both intentional and unbeknownst, planned and accidental. They all are seeking something. Even those born here seem to be endlessly seeking something, anything, like the sun seeking the edge of the sea, as California is the edge of the land, the continent, the West. It is the West of the West, ever sunset gazing, hypnotized by the horizon, staring beyond the planet's edge.
There are many variations on the theme of the Seeker: The beach bum, the sage, the philosopher.
The three sculptures in the lobby are beach bums: Beach bums literally live at the edge of the land, sand and water creature, puer aeternus, eternal boys, child gods who are forever young, leading provisional lives, covet independence and freedom and oppose boundaries and limits. The viewer faces the sculptures at ground level. They stand tall as individuals, independent, isolated and separate.
The Soul Archer is the longboarder, nose rider, toes on the nose, arching the back, the apollonian torso, about to take off the water's edge, the wave's face. The Gravity Harvester is what the surfer does, surfing as harvest of gravity, falling and rising along the wave, nourishing levity, playing with elements. And Moon Face needs little explanation, much assocation: spirit being, native of the other world, inner world, pointing like E.T. call home.
There is also Chuang Tsu the ancient Chinese Sage, one of the original sources of Taoism. And Diogenes, squinting at Alexander the Great, ordering him to get out of the sun.
The paintings on the second floor are reflections on the sculptures, of the sculptures. playing with the idea of Plato's cave alleogory. They are shadows, reminders of our limited conscious reality. Like the sculptures they show the Soul Archer, Diogenes as the Sage, Chuang Tsu and the Butterfly as the Sage.
The material in both the sculptures and the paintings matter, raw, almost untreated, found shapes, it connects at a haptic level, material level, not representational but provocatively, evocatively, visceral and not just perceptual, feeling not just seeing.