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Friendly Faces

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Date Minted:  January 7, 2021

Artist Description: Nothing like seeing a friends face after years and years.  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

In the very beginning, Godfrey Meyer’s art took on technology. One specific series I’m referring to, called Signals, in which there were four pieces, and the gist is that data itself is corporealized in the form of colorful and crackling deluges of visual information, literally color that explodes across each image as if it were water shot out of a fire hydrant. Meyer moves away from that kind of specific exploration afterwards, opting instead to spread his artistry outward onto many different subjects, some of them cryptocurrency-specific, others lightly abstract, many of them the kind of classically beautiful and thoughtful pedestals upon which the artist’s command of 3D sculpture and rendering could be displayed. But then, suddenly, something strange happens. That old style becomes, all at once and almost completely, forsaken. Starting with a piece called Pixel Pushing minted at the end of July in 2020, Meyer begins using distortion to astounding effect in his works. And it’s ubiquitous. Dozens of artworks thereafter minted (at least on SuperRare), and only something like six are spared the wild distortions of color and form that characterize all Meyer’s other pieces, crazy jagged spikes of color that, like TV static, destroy any fabric of reality in his images, leaving them highly abstract, overwhelming, and with a completely unique aesthetic style. Friendly Faces not only shares this series of qualities, but uses context to encourage us towards picking out a certain image from the depth of the abstraction. So while Meyer’s aesthetics purposefully destroy any sense of image cohesion or unity within the piece, his exterior context pushes us towards inventing one anyways. And thus Friendly Faces is a piece at odds with itself, variously in a state of destroying and inventing itself, simultaneously distorted and undistorting at once, depending on whichever point we start from. Do we find an immediate image and examine the ways the piece corrupts it? Or do we begin with that corruption alone, but watch as —like magic— its underlying layers begin to conform to what we’ve been asked to see? 

You can juuuuuuust about make something out, right? If you squint, if you try really hard, and if you’re already primed to think that it’s a human face waiting there for your inspection, then, by God,  there it appears! And what a relief, for as Meyer says in his Artist Description, “Nothing like seeing a friends face after years and years.” But, of course, the face we see is as much of our own devising as something actually observed within the aesthetics of the piece. One could just as easily see nothing more than a mess of abstract distortion, all sorts of jagged, intermixed colors spread in undefined shapes atop a plateau of orange and pink and purple, positioned in front of a fence-like hexagonal structure. And that’d be a totally accurate reading. In the center of the piece, highly distorted and highly-varied hues of green contour themselves within undefined and indescribable shapes; there are too many of them and in too many patterns —some thick and some thin, some sharp and some defined and some nearly invisible, all of them falling into other shapes, other patterns, with the effect being something of a topographical map after an earthquake, huge swaths of a countryside falling into itself, toppled trees and dilapidated old farm fields overgrown with weeds. The green  —which is interjected with similarly difficult-to-describe contours of tan that seem to outline certain facial features: a nose, a chin, one eye and one ear— is altogether contained in something of a blocky circle, just enough that one can exhume a facial structure from within what is otherwise, obviously, an explosion of abstract elements. The “face” seems to be having its mind quintessentially blown, as towards the back of its “skull” the green hues turn bright turquoise blue, otherwise a dark navy blue, and fit themselves into something of a volcanic shape, exploding upwards using the illusion of movement (an effect of the abstractions’ positioning) that settles like a veil of floating blue ash along the entire north edge of the piece. The most recognizable single aspect of the entire image is Meyer’s signature in the bottom-right corner. Everything else is so open to interpretation because every element in the piece is so overwhelmingly illusory, ephemeral, difficult to pin down. These are abstractions that are naturally and overtly the product of a digital product; they’re far too intricate and exact to be the product of exclusively human hands. And thus, we return to Meyer’s early days, and the Signals series, only here —and henceforth from here too— those signals seem to have found a home in mimesis. No longer content to stream out of a television in indistinct blobs, that style has affixed itself to something like logic, shape, cohesion, and here it is again, presenting itself as both things —abstraction and impression— at the same time.

So what do you see? Or more importantly, what did you see first? When you strip away everything extraneous, any asserted meaning and the implications of context, and simply stare at the art, do you see a human face destroyed by digitization, or do you see digitization that’s personified itself, that is reaching out, desperately, towards identity? 

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