David Gifford: Art & Magic with Divine Awkwardness

Straight .com features David Gifford for his
artistic and magic presentation set to run through Satuday, June 17th
in Vancouver.

Mr. Gifford commented to an assembled audience at his most
recent exhibition, "It takes a lot of work to achieve that divine
awkwardness." 

We think that is a great line and intend to steal it.  Of course we'll add our own divine twist to
it by slurring or getting the words out of order. 

Mr. Gifford believes there is a common job or passion
betwixt magicians and artists. 

He demonstrated his thesis by performing a magic show in the
midst of the gallery displaying his art work.

The art critic opined:

Gifford was performing various sleights of hand of the
children's-birthday-party variety. He switched radishes and lemons under a
series of brass cups. He tore up a newspaper and restored it whole (sort of),
he executed a familiar card trick in an unfamiliar way, and he pulled a rabbit
out of a cloth pouch.

Occasionally, the gambit would slightly malfunction and the
illusion would be lost. Still, the artist recovered his poise and the audience
its willing suspension of disbelief.

Gifford, whose exhibition Shadow Puncho initially consisted
of five sculptures, sound, and a hive of live bees, delivered the magic show as
a preamble to his recent artist's talk.

The performance was not incidental: Gifford maintains that
artist and magician have long shared the job of creating illusions. Magic and
mimesis are inextricably linked, he asserted. Still, he added, it is the job of
the artist to sort out what is truth and what is artifice.

We don't want to get too deep here but that's only because
we're intimidated by discussions involving anything more than opposing
diatribes on the least controversial but irrelevant issues of the day. 

With that caveat, we suggest "sorting out the truth
from artifice" is the job of a magician or artist only as a step towards
effectively presenting his or her message. 

The artist and the magician both understand the nature of
their work and are not at risk of confusing reality for illusion.  Ask anyone who has worn a suspension harness
or tongue-palmed a lit cigarette.  We
assume it is the same for artists.  They
know the lines drawn on canvas or sculpted from stone are not the figure to be
presented. 

Presumably if the roles were switched, they too would know
the difference between magically producing a lit cigarette at one's lips from
holding the butt end of a smoldering Camel between their teeth and perfectly
positioned between the top of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. 

We agree with Rousseau's observation that theatre has the
power to excite the passions of the audience, to provide a real-life catharsis
for the patron who knows all along the performance is purely fiction. 

We cry at the end of Field
of Dreams
even though we know it cannot possibly be a true story; it seems
far-fetched Kevin Costner could ever work on a real farm.  The emotion transcends really bad acting and
poor direction because it is a story that resonates within many men. 

Presumably, this is the same reason why women cry at the end
of An Affair to Remember or any movie
involving Julia Roberts. 

Men don't understand why those movies cause women to cry and
women have no clue why Field of Dreams
or The Natural can cause tears. 

Without an understanding of why, neither men nor women can
control the emotional response experienced. 
But the artists responsible for presenting the stories have fully
mastered the use of recording equipment and lighting to convey a message that
cannot be explained. 

Magicians enjoy magic differently than the lay
audience.  We often gasp and applaud like
our non-magician friends and family but usually at a different point in the
show.  We admire a sleight done perfectly
to set-up the finale to a trick that will not be revealed for another minute or
two.  We bubble over with excitement when
we realize how the performer improved upon a classic effect – again, even
though the performer's presentation may be only half-way completed. 

So?  So what does this
have to do with the artist becoming a magician being an artist? 

Really nothing.  We
just disagree with an art critic's review of a show we have not seen featuring
an artist we do not know. 

Tom Hardy III famously wrote, "Anyone can argue over
facts or truth.  The trick is to make up
your premise and defend it in the face of overwhelming evidence to the
contrary; and even though you know the other side is right."

"Often wrong, never in doubt." 

The artist/magician Mr. Gifford has hit upon a neat
connection between magic and art.  The
critic seems to be stuck at the premise that "art and magic" are
similar.   It could be Mr. Gifford's art
work is terrible and his performance of magic tricks is worse.  But the message he tries to convey is worthy
of discussion and consideration by both magicians who are artists and artists
who wish to be magicians. 

Okay, we're done trying to be deep.  We're going to go see what happens when you
put a can of whipped cream in the microwave now. 

Read more about Mr.
Gifford's exhibition and magic here
.


Straight .com features David Gifford for his
artistic and magic presentation set to run through Satuday, June 17th
in Vancouver.

Mr. Gifford commented to an assembled audience at his most
recent exhibition, "It takes a lot of work to achieve that divine
awkwardness." 

We think that is a great line and intend to steal it.  Of course we'll add our own divine twist to
it by slurring or getting the words out of order. 

Mr. Gifford believes there is a common job or passion
betwixt magicians and artists. 

He demonstrated his thesis by performing a magic show in the
midst of the gallery displaying his art work.

The art critic opined:

Gifford was performing various sleights of hand of the
children's-birthday-party variety. He switched radishes and lemons under a
series of brass cups. He tore up a newspaper and restored it whole (sort of),
he executed a familiar card trick in an unfamiliar way, and he pulled a rabbit
out of a cloth pouch.

Occasionally, the gambit would slightly malfunction and the
illusion would be lost. Still, the artist recovered his poise and the audience
its willing suspension of disbelief.

Gifford, whose exhibition Shadow Puncho initially consisted
of five sculptures, sound, and a hive of live bees, delivered the magic show as
a preamble to his recent artist's talk.

The performance was not incidental: Gifford maintains that
artist and magician have long shared the job of creating illusions. Magic and
mimesis are inextricably linked, he asserted. Still, he added, it is the job of
the artist to sort out what is truth and what is artifice.

We don't want to get too deep here but that's only because
we're intimidated by discussions involving anything more than opposing
diatribes on the least controversial but irrelevant issues of the day. 

With that caveat, we suggest "sorting out the truth
from artifice" is the job of a magician or artist only as a step towards
effectively presenting his or her message. 

The artist and the magician both understand the nature of
their work and are not at risk of confusing reality for illusion.  Ask anyone who has worn a suspension harness
or tongue-palmed a lit cigarette.  We
assume it is the same for artists.  They
know the lines drawn on canvas or sculpted from stone are not the figure to be
presented. 

Presumably if the roles were switched, they too would know
the difference between magically producing a lit cigarette at one's lips from
holding the butt end of a smoldering Camel between their teeth and perfectly
positioned between the top of the tongue and the roof of the mouth. 

We agree with Rousseau's observation that theatre has the
power to excite the passions of the audience, to provide a real-life catharsis
for the patron who knows all along the performance is purely fiction. 

We cry at the end of Field
of Dreams
even though we know it cannot possibly be a true story; it seems
far-fetched Kevin Costner could ever work on a real farm.  The emotion transcends really bad acting and
poor direction because it is a story that resonates within many men. 

Presumably, this is the same reason why women cry at the end
of An Affair to Remember or any movie
involving Julia Roberts. 

Men don't understand why those movies cause women to cry and
women have no clue why Field of Dreams
or The Natural can cause tears. 

Without an understanding of why, neither men nor women can
control the emotional response experienced. 
But the artists responsible for presenting the stories have fully
mastered the use of recording equipment and lighting to convey a message that
cannot be explained. 

Magicians enjoy magic differently than the lay
audience.  We often gasp and applaud like
our non-magician friends and family but usually at a different point in the
show.  We admire a sleight done perfectly
to set-up the finale to a trick that will not be revealed for another minute or
two.  We bubble over with excitement when
we realize how the performer improved upon a classic effect – again, even
though the performer's presentation may be only half-way completed. 

So?  So what does this
have to do with the artist becoming a magician being an artist? 

Really nothing.  We
just disagree with an art critic's review of a show we have not seen featuring
an artist we do not know. 

Tom Hardy III famously wrote, "Anyone can argue over
facts or truth.  The trick is to make up
your premise and defend it in the face of overwhelming evidence to the
contrary; and even though you know the other side is right."

"Often wrong, never in doubt." 

The artist/magician Mr. Gifford has hit upon a neat
connection between magic and art.  The
critic seems to be stuck at the premise that "art and magic" are
similar.   It could be Mr. Gifford's art
work is terrible and his performance of magic tricks is worse.  But the message he tries to convey is worthy
of discussion and consideration by both magicians who are artists and artists
who wish to be magicians. 

Okay, we're done trying to be deep.  We're going to go see what happens when you
put a can of whipped cream in the microwave now. 

Read more about Mr.
Gifford's exhibition and magic here
.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.