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Viewing Room

Jason Frizzell

And We Will Dream of El Dorado

November 27  – January 2021


And We Will Dream of El Dorado features new small-scale works that continue my thematic exploration of transition, denial and discovery. Although at first glance the miniature tableau may seem to be rooted in purely post-apocalyptic imagery, closer examination reveals that the constructed universe is not fixed in a specific time or period. Rusted hulks of machinery and architecture of unknown origin and function dwell alongside futuristic robots, spaceships, and domesticated (or at least well-trained) dinosaurs. The pieces describe a place where the concepts of past, present, and future may overlap and coexist.

The use of El Dorado in this instance does not refer to the mythical man, city, or empire, but rather the more metaphorical use of the term to describe a destination or state of understanding that can be searched for throughout one’s entire life, without ever being discovered. The figures (often sharing similar masks or clothing) travel through landscapes of ruination in search of something undefined and perhaps unachievable.

In a very personal sense, as I find myself firmly planted in middle age and living in an empty nest, I often ponder, with more than a hint of melancholy, if the choices I’ve made in pursuit of goals or understanding have been wise investments of time and energy. Have I strained to look so far down the road that I missed the patch of world beneath my feet? As Edgar Allan Poe wrote in 1849,

... o'er his heart a shadow
Fell as he found
No spot of ground
That looked like Eldorado.

However, upon the banks of these miserable rivers lives the possibility of redemption. Although the roads may be littered with debris rather than paved with gold, they remain mostly intact. And roads were meant to be traveled.


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