ARTIST: Ronald Lambert
TITLE: Toward a Possible Bliss
MATERIALS: Record player, record, video
DIMENSIONS: 17.25" x 17" x 12"
DATE: 2004

I am interested in the connection between electronic equipment, nostalgia and the experience of the sublime. In the piece "Toward a Possible Bliss" I looked to the box record player as an invention that allows for sound, and the emotions that are tied up in music to be transported and shared between people. Within popular music sentiment is delivered in a direct and immediate fashion. For this piece I chose to record my version of "When You're Smiling", a song that has been recorded by numerous singers including Louis Armstrong, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. I chose the song because of its commonality; it is a song that most Americans have heard. Its lyrics have a saccharine sweet quality to them that I hoped would make the audience guess whether or not I was being ironic or sincere, especially in combination with the video of oversaturated flowers. I want a connection between the viewer as a participant in the work and myself as the artist. A viewer dropping the needle onto a record turns on the video. When the record is finished, the turntable arm returns to its rest and the video turns off to wait for the next person's involvement to begin again. The piece recalls experience and emotions, and creates a link between the viewer and myself. I want the piece to give the viewer the sense that there are places and events, whether or not they are constructed, that are beautiful and important.

ARTIST: Ronald Lambert
TITLE: Intravital
MATERIALS: Video installation
DIMENSIONS: 16.5" w x 36" l x 32" h
DATE: 2004

There is beauty in those moments when we are reminded of our physicality: when we see the reflection of the sky in a puddle, or when the first drop of rain reminds us that we are part of something bigger. In psychoanalysis water stands for the unconscious mind. The unconscious occupies a large part of our mind but is rarely expressed in everyday life. The fact that water, the majority of our physical bodies, was chosen to represent a part of our life that is not physical is ironic. I also find it interesting that the concept of the sublime ties us to the physical world when much of what is considered sublime is derived from elements of life that remind us of the spiritual. In "Intravital" I aim to make sense of my own desire to break down and dissect how aspects of our life such as the unconscious and the sense of the sublime function. I see an interconnectedness between our bodies to the natural environment and the unconscious to the physical world. Ripples of water mimicked in skin, projected into large Petri dishes; I am intrigued by the thought of relaxation being contained and studied; yet separated from the life that could actually hold the emotions or consciousness.

There are instances when the environment reminds us of our lives, such as the point at the beginning of a rainstorm when you're not sure if you feel the water yet or not, in extreme weather when our lives are threatened, and also when we encounter something so breathtaking that for a brief moment our lives are taken off course. Art has been given the job of capturing the sublime, providing mementos of things the culture does or should feel for. Culture moves at an exhausting pace yet it is difficult to make art about flux, to make objects that ask the audience to remain still in a culture which constantly threatens to pass them by. As we leave our bodies to move at the pace of progress, we pass the physical parts of live which remind us that we take up space. It is in the moments of the sublime that life slows down if even for a second. Sculpture provides me with an opportunity to explore the sublime through direct experience by allowing a viewer to see the construction, as well as feel the sensation of the elements, and the phenomena that is created. Art can still mimic life physically; it can also mimic the experiences of life, adding interjections to remind us of the pace at which we live and how one perceives beauty and the sublime.

I aim to create work that is beautiful; I want the viewer to be at first attracted to the form and display and after the information provided in the materials sets in, I want the viewer to be somewhat repulsed by the futility of the gesture of mimicking the experiences of the natural world. I desire to artistically explore a sense of constructedness and impermanence, which reminded me of our own impermanence despite the best efforts of science and medicine. While technology explains away things that were once mysteries, phenomena, or even miracles, the sight of such occurrences still inspire awe. The sublime comes from a need to be awed, a need to break routine, a need to feel there is still wonder in the world around us. As the natural environment shrinks, the sublime recedes into such miniscule events as the concentric rings formed from a drop of water, of the reflection of the sky in a puddle alongside the walkway.

Ronald Lambert
Seattle WA
zelambert AT