The beautiful yet jarring nature of Homer's exposition resides within an outlandish psyche that, within the reader's mind, strums an enigmatic yet striking chord. His East-meets-West mindset portrays delusional yet humbling influences, from the Ptolemic period through to the rise of the Roman Empire, with a dream-like state where Pharaoh was actually Ceasar.
Such is Homer's vision of his people, and of their psyche, that his art has a firmly Trojanic look to it.This parade of influences was echoed by another favorite of Hansons: Greco-Roman mythology. Over several years, Hanson has grown increasingly interested in Crete, in part because of the numerous interpretations of the myth that continue to be presented in the East. One of these interpretations is a myth that Homer himself has been spinning for years. He has cited in his sketches what he thought were the ruins of Troy, but he has never used them as source material, nor did he ever intend to. This time, however, he did—not so much to reconstruct the original myth as to reflect upon and criticize the present.Hansons imagery does not imitate human achievements, but he does make reference to them as if they were the archetypal achievements of people such as Cleopatra, King Jason, Alexander, and Achilles. In this way he writes his own history of the ancient Greeks and their triumphs over the Medusa and Achilles. The unpretentiousness of this approach is crucial, but it is also exactly what makes his earlier work so appealing to a wider public. Hansons imagery is hauntingly romantic and grimly humorous, and it is reflected in his statement on his intentions; like Homer, he too has come to a dead end. He is finally taking a turn to biography. He wants to study Crete, reconstruct its myths, and reflect upon the gulf of myth between these two countries, and how those echoes run together.
A recent, focused retrospective was a tribute to Homer in a manner that perfectly exemplified the ferocity of his protest against his people, and in which Homer became a result of an insurrection of manners, a warfare between the artist and his subjects.The ancient Greeks, in which they placed great value on order and symmetry, viewed the body as the pinnacle of geometry and organized it accordingly, using scales, architectural elements, and forms. As Athenididas taught his people to follow the laws of the sun and the moon, Homer understood the body as an equal and inviolate unity. The laws of gravitation were reflected in the laws of weight and balance, and were inscribed, in part, in the bodily structures of the body.In his new work, Homer addresses himself directly to the problem of the double, which constitutes the primary force of his subject. In his drawing of a mans severed head, a head whose opening up reveals a mass of blood and guts, a figure that is made up of continuous lines and crosses. It is the opening up of the head, which, in some sense, closes the wound and opens up to the world, that Homer objects to in his depiction of the severed head. It is like seeing a hole through which a vast organism is oozing blood, blood that has been tightly wound and sealed, like an embryo. The painters work of the Twentieth Century is all about the violence of the body. But the violence has been restrained by a simple picture: a head of a young man with a sloppily drawn eye, whose very innocence is an organic aspect of his desire. In this morbid image, where the head and the body have separated, the tearful expression of a young mans face will remain as an emotional trademark of his individual existence.
Yet, Homer's pseudo-journey symbolized only by his wand—a wax wands peculiarly adorned with a gold-glazed ceramic offering, the wands brimless and loosely festooned with jewels—is not a return of the other way round. Its an analogy of the other, a Nietzschean approach that leads one to become the other. Thus, Homer is joined by an ancientness and a contemporaryness. His is a world that resists presentation, that lacks a convincing discourse, that is itself a sign of the fragile and ephemeral (the heat of the sun). The walking men of Homer are the spectators who see the world through the eyes of their own eyes.
Homer's vision is a wilder wonderland with women and horses, sea creatures and dragons, but perhaps his theme is not the contemplation of nature but the transformation of the animal into the cosmic. In an especially striking piece, Heretics of the Celestial Bodies, 1997, we encounter an immense woman, transformed into an array of serpentine and legless creatures. The "feet, crotch, hips, crotch, head, and breasts of the serpent woman are all only vaguely visible, but they are the only part that would be visible in a cave or a forest. This archetype, the "shrine of nature—a form which has a similar significance to the goddess Athena—becomes her body. The glassy, hungrailike woman's small gold-handled dagger, which forms a rock motif, stands on her thigh and her calf. This allegorical figure opens up an imaginative world, where nature and culture clash and share a field of mutual destruction.In this work, Homer's mythic cycle is transformed into a procession of monuments, a chthonic aphorism. The artist's imaginative translation is a rare accomplishment, and one of the great pleasures of reading.
These factors conspire to create a black humor that brings together the ironic and the mundane in absurd ways. The most sophisticated aspect of the paintings is their spontaneous, impersonal appearance—that is, their use of photography as a graphic tool, their search for a photographic directness. The titles of the works, which take the form of the black humor title, such as The Execution of King Apollon (in Ancient Egypt), 2008, and The Execution of King Antigonos (in Shakespeare's Macbeth), 2009, allow the artist to surface the deceptive relationships between things and images, which are yet more self-reflexive and even dangerous.With its passionate representation of a social and economic system, the exhibition suggested an acute awareness of human suffering. The world is saturated with this amount of suffering, so that, according to the artist, we can identify with it or not. The paintings, therefore, indicate that our cynicism and cynicism have a political dimension, and that we need to act on it. In fact, they constitute a path of action: The artist's ironic, yet seductive technique has the power to provoke a disturbing sense of dislocation.