Last week Wesley Stokes discussed the meta-ness of Alli Miller and Trey Burns' "Wessel Castle." This week Reggie Rodrigue reports from Lafayette on metaculture as expressed in Cece Cole's “Thinking about Meditating” on view at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Coincidence or trend? Is it what we're looking at or our lens?
Despite what the postmodernists would have us believe, meaning and substance did not die from a double murder at the hand of irony some time in the 1970s. They simply went underground for a while. Irony didn’t kill monolithic dogma either, but the two now have to rub shoulders with multivalent thinking. Metaculture is upon us, and it kindly asks us to reconsider our positions.
The artwork of Cece Cole is a case in point. Her exhibition “Thinking about Meditating” in the Coca-Cola Studio of the Acadiana Center for the Arts in Lafayette is about as “meta” as it gets, especially considering that it is inside a space sponsored by a corporate giant. Eschewing individual titles, Cole deploys a number of ad hoc quasi-sculptures and collages made from life-scraps and detritus that she has been mutating and manipulating over the years—mirrors, pieces of cellophane, magazine clippings, paper plates, light fixtures, plastic cups, sticks, string, chair legs, digital prints, and personal drawings. Individually these slipshod works may seem underwhelming, but together in one space they coalesce into a total work of art that is both playful and formidable in its articulation of where humanity is at culturally, politically, and spiritually, which seems to be everywhere at once. In Cole’s artistic universe, garbage and nature, thought and emotion, action and artifice all occupy the same position and are essentially indistinguishable from one another.
Here, a grand unified theory of existence is proposed for a culture at odds with itself. Think about meditating on that for the moment, but if the thought proves too much for you, don’t worry. This moment of philosophical openness too shall pass.
“Thinking about Meditating” on view until April 20 at the Coca-Cola Studio, Acadiana Center for the Arts (101 West Vermilion Street) in Lafayette.