ALLISON SEXTON: “Tap into ‘The Language’ or You’re Neutral”


January 23, 2009

By Doug Rickard

Ya know that saying… “that which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”… yeah, that one, optimism express – positive power deluxe. I think that the ones that believe this tend to be the one’s that haven’t felt the real pain… the one’s that have “had it good”, the know nothings that have lived their life strolling along from breakfast to lunch to dinner, to school and then back home, to their warm bed, from vacations to their pillows, and everything soft, everything is just resting in their soft no-nightmares-only-sweet-dreams-heads. The one’s that have felt the real pain, lived the trauma train… rode the grief or the sorrow, absorbed the violence… fell from the cliff of the absence of love, the vacuum of empty, or even worse, of hatred and neglect, of the addiction sucker punch and trampled hearts… of self loathing, of self abuse. These one’s, they know that this is just a myth… that this saying is spin city baby. They know that which doesn’t kill you mainly leaves you a partly broken man, looking for a way out or a way in man… looking for what, looking for this, looking for answers… escape from or memories to be cleaned up, erased or changed back, go to a new start man.

Art tends to tap into this core, it taps into the pain and the sorrow, the growth trampled down by the decay, life and death circle, a birth into a ticking time bomb… it speaks in a language of undertones that have to be felt as much as seen as much as remembered as much as tasted… a shared remembrance, a shared knowing. Art takes this language… of violence, of human strangeness, of memories that press into the back of the face, visions that monopolize your eyes, it takes this notion and this language and rains it down smack on your head and pow right inside your chest. If you learn to spot these undertones, you then learn to demand them, you learn to savor them… you can spot the electricity, you can pick through the weeds of the art landscape and find the fertile spots… find those that know how to tap into “the language”. Soon… art is empty if the language is not woven is not heavy is not tense… if the language is missing it becomes just neutral, you are left without affect… and you don’t want to be neutral, once you learn to love this beautiful language… you want to be affected baby.


Allison Sexton knows this language, Allison knows how to tap into this… I found her and I felt it, I could see it. Like Nan Goldin, Michele Abeles and some others, this is a psychological language of undertones and “feel”… it is a language of human complexity and interpretation, of subtle queues and hidden meanings, and this is the language to crave. Human complexity and thick-alive undertones, damage taking place in a flawed world, the human dance and the human essence, opera of pain, ode of pleasure, meaning… experience, the road lived. Bad choices and those ugly repercussions, good choices and the bad that happens anyway, redemption in the midst of collapse… collapse from the weight of the burdens, burdens being buried and locked away to survive…. yeah, that is the language of art. Without this, it is aimless and dull…

Tap into this complex fabric or remain neutral… tap into this language if you can and ride the ride.


ASX CHANNEL: Allison Sexton

Get more articles like this
sent directly to your inbox