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HodlNaut: Ascent

Museum Link:

Source Link:

Date Minted: May 6, 2020

Artist Description: (Digital, C4D, Photoshop, Adobe Dimensions) In the G-618 Supercluster, S. Nakamoto Hodlnaut is on path to encounter a special monetary force that could revolutionize the way we think about money  

CohentheWriter’s Commentary:

Cody R.’s work straddles the line between image and sculpture. Glancing through his gallery as I just have, you find an incredible amount of detail and technical ability, especially when it comes to the creation of textures. His images are frequently metallic, and shine uber-realistically, light from unseen sources glinting off of surfaces, and there’s a lurid semi-liquid quality to many of the items in his pieces, an effect I find thrilling. While his earlier works are very flat and overtly concerned with geomtry, his later works, of which HodlNaut: Ascent is one, share a newfound fascination with 3D imagery and with technology. There are cars galore. There are metallic bodies posturing in all sorts of semi-discomfiting positions. Gold and silver and neo-noir purples and pinks characterize much of his oeuvre. And for this reason, HodlNaut: Ascent is kind of a perfect encapsulation of what the artist is trying to do. Here is the 3D figure, lovingly crafted. Here is the unique texture composition that makes his work so interesting. And here is the futurist/noir sensibility which glistens and glimmers throughout his Superrare page. HodlNaut: Ascent may not be so stunning in its current form —a small square atop a webpage— but that brings it into holy communion with the many other examples of 3D painting and sculpture which cry out for unlimited size and scope. The larger this image gets, or the closer you bring yourself to it, the more wondrous it appears. Go on, get closer. Stop when your nose hits the screen. 

I do want to focus a bit more on the texture in HodlNaut: Ascent, because it’s really beyond beautiful. Click on the image and make it full-screen, and we find the eponymic HodlNaut, her arm raised in a firm salutation, is made of an ultra-liquid kind of metal, or is at least wrapped in such a surface. Her clothing glistens, shines in quite lifelike silverly hues, like this is a person made of liquid mercury, and we’re seeing her in the miniature moment before she begins to melt. An off-screen light shines on her and her elongated visor, the astronaut suit bright in certain spots and dark in others, with an arm fully-coated in shadow and a backpack that is electrically lit-up as if made from diamond. In places, there are shimmering streaks of yellow, an overtly stylistic choice that adds to the noir element mentioned earlier. Behind the HodlNaut, a scattered smattering of white dots disseminates out into a black void. Stars perhaps? The HodlNaut moving through space? And she too, or the back of her at least, seems to be falling apart quite like the stars are. The HodlNaut, as we move further and further towards the right edge of the image, loses her definition, seems to be fading into shadow, loses her edges and her specific shapes and begins to appear blobby. It makes one wonder: does this image capture a person saying hello? Or does it capture one moving away from us, breaking into bits, liquifying and melting and turning to a puddle, saying goodbye?

It would be foolish for me to try and parse out an answer, but it provides A) an interesting subject for thought, and B) a wonderful segue into what I believe is the defining feature of this piece: a preoccupation with a defiance of definition. Let me explain. Take the Hodlnaut’s physical form for a second, the astronaut suit shining and semi-liquid. I have a hard time defining for myself if this is an image of a solid or a liquid, or whether one is turning into the other, and if so, which way? Ditto with the way the Hodlnaut loses structure towards her backside. It makes us wonder if we’re seeing a figure emerging from out of the ether, or if she’s falling back, about to be swallowed up by it. The stars at the right edge of the piece, are they moving towards us or away from us? On some level, that question —Is this a greeting or a goodbye?— encapsulates a certain reading of the piece. Because we can’t be sure. Because what Cody R. has created is something that holds itself tightrope-like in the middle of two possibilities, without an urge to either end, becoming itself something entirely ambiguous and defying cohesive definition. 

A lot of artistic exploration from such a simple subject: the astronaut and the black void of space behind her. And yet, the possibilities of 3D sculpture are all encapsulated here, easy enough to see and feel and understand. Again, it’s tragic that we can’t see this piece 50-times larger, blown up to the size of a wall, where that lack of definition could really be felt, so we could gaze with renewed fervor at the liquid metal lady and wonder whether she’s in the process of dripping apart or condensing back together. It wouldn’t get us anywhere though; at any size, this piece is crowned with ambiguity. We might as well just put a hand up ourselves, keep from saying “Hello” or “Goodbye,” and let the HodlNaut move in any direction she wishes: towards us, away from us, or forever remaining in the same spot.  

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