The critic and philosophy professor Arthur C. Danto once addressed the issue of the Philosophical Disenfranchisement of Art by premising his argument with a quote from renowned poet and writer W. H. Auden. It still gives us pause some 72 years later. “Artists and politicians would get along better at a time of crisis like the present, if the latter would only realize that the political history of the world would have been the same if not a poem had been written, nor a picture painted, nor a bar of music composed.”
If art truly has the ability “to do nothing” or at least effect no change on the world’s stage, what happens when you come across a work of art that does, if not politically, than by its personification of you Being [a] Human Now? Sculptor and La Mesa artist Lee Puffer fillets our personas into so many pieces our rather unflattering traits are exposed through some very simple means. Being Human Now is the title of Puffer’s latest body of work in ceramic (her preferred medium) and mixed-media elements that represent “a meditation on the emotional frailty in all humans.” It is powerful stuff. Truly.
Vomit is the only word that comes to mind when viewing these sculptures. Mainly busts of women, these floating and disemboweled heroines (their bodies disappear under veils of fabric, metal armature, even stuffed animals) regurgitate, throw up, blast, confront, menace, scare, and intimidate the viewer with stares, half-smiles, and grimaces that make us feel tense and vulnerable. These women are pissed, but they are also strong and determined. They “knew something about life,” as Charles Bukowski once said about his women.
Puffer knows something about life too or so it seems. How can you tell? Look into their glassy eyes (don’t be afraid); observe their pale and maidenly skin, the souvenirs that enrobe them; this might be you. Or what’s left.
“Whiner,” 2011 – Lee Puffer