Wednesday, September 07, 2005

1/4 career flashback - Humberto!

Welcome to my ongoing Quarter of a Career retrospective.

Today I would like to introduce to you an old and dear friend from 1990-1991, Humberto Maturana. All my work was potatoes until one day I happened upon a blackboard in a hallway, full of mysterious diagrams and the name "Humberto Maturana". I dragged the blackboard back to my studio and it became my inspiration. I had no idea the potatoes were people until I saw the name "Humberto Maturana" - the most wonderful name ever.

This is maybe the first Humberto painting; note his brain - it's a potato! Humberto is a hater. Humberto has delusions of grandeur. Humberto can't take it anymore and commits suicide by eating a poison potato. Here's a detail of his potato soul leaving his body. Humberto achieves a higher state of awareness. Humberto's autopsy. Humberto comes back with super-powers and armor.

I eventually discovered that Humberto Maturana was a REAL PERSON, a scientist, and a noted doctor in the Chilean School of Biology of Cognition. An expert on the nature of time, metadesign, and the ontology of observing. Here is his personal website; I swear to god that if you watch the opening graphics at one point a potato flies across the screen.*

My plan was for Humberto to become a *star* and to make character goods, keychains, endorsement deals, maybe even a cartoon! Unfortunately, the five Humberto paintings I debuted at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1991 were unfavorably reviewed by Ed Sozanski in the 10/24/91 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer - "Martin Bromirski's large cartoonish drawings are the least compatible with the show's overall tone and tenuous concept". Alas - the artworld was not ready.

All of my Humberto paintings continued with the black/white/yellow pallette I had started with the potatoes and are all works-on-paper. EVERYTHING I made from late 1989 until 1999 was on paper. Paper only. I almost always began with a layer of yellow legal pad paper as a ground. I was so pissed when Ellen Gallagher came on the scene gluing notepad-paper grounds too, although I understand now that she wasn't copying me. But still!!

*I had no internet in 1991. I learned he had written a book and ordered it not having any idea what to expect. My how times change! Things are so much easier now. That book was COMPLICATED. Now that we have e-mail and internet I think I will forward this post to the real Humberto!!!!!!

RELATED: my resume, Quarter-Career, 1990-2005, 1/4 career flashback - the potato years.


Anonymous said...

Love the Humberto stuff... The pick w/him Batman & Indiana Jones. Hilarious.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you forget to put "Private Collection" after Humberto Has Delusions of Grandeur? I feel so dissed.

Love, Maryann

Michael McDevitt said...

Wait! Shortly after the 'potato' flies across the screen, there's a woman suckling an infant AND a dog! Seriously...

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