Robert Thierren is a liar.
I caught a preview of the show and then saw it again at the reception and both times I walked away feeling swindled. I felt like I should have been given more. And not just because his work is Minimal.
Looking at his work, I would see and think of someone else. The rungs moving up to the fake hatch on the ceiling yelled out Donald Judd. And the giant oilcan made me think of Jeff Koon’s mylar sculptures. And when looking at all the heads of the female cartoon, I think of whatsis name. Rin Tin Tin? No, the comic strip guy,Tintin. Heh, Rin Tin Tin. Dumbass. Hehe. The teardrops or raindrops on the back wall had a faint impression of something familiar, but I don’t know what. And the stacked kitchenware just looked like kids’ toys to me.
So the work might look like other art, thats not a bad thing. In fact it probably means that he was well informed about other artists and influences. What really made me think about his duplicitous character were the descriptions of the works. During my first go through, I closely inspected the work. The oilcan drawing looked fairly decent and I moved on. But the second drawing I inspected looked artificially wash-like. Were it not for an abrupt edge on the aura of the heads, I would not have noticed. It threw me off, so I check the list and see what medium was used. Ink on paper? I don’t think so. That looked like an inkjet printout. And don’t tell me its not ’cause the drawing next to it had low-res degradation.
Okay, so Mr. Thierren works in a Minimal way and likes to repeat. Maybe the printouts were his way of quickly copying and reorganizing his compositions. But if thats what he did, then the computer should be his designated weapon, or at least included as one. But it wasn’t and I look him up to see what else is out there on him. The only other piece that I find online is one where he enlarged the scale of a dining table set. In that piece I can see what has been described as his use of personal history. I don’t see it in his silhouette drawings of a steeple without a cross or its corresponding drawings of oilcans, but the stacks of kitchenware and oddly enough the keyhole speak of the past and compare it with a more mature life. I wonder if that is what he is after. The change of perspective in one’s life. As a kid, the furniture is enormous, big enough to climb and play on. But as an adult doing the dishes may be menial and time consuming, but it is just a small fraction of what constitutes as life.
I am still not happy with what I think about Robert Thierren’s work. I still feel robbed and I think I will have to make a trip back. I might even have to get into a discussion about what he is doing, get someone else’s perspective. For now, the show is NOT BAD.
I’ll tell you ’bout what I sees.