Open Arms (2011)

Open Arms (2011) is a blissful video altar comprised of 7 yellow CRT televisions arranged in an asymmetric mandala pattern showcasing colorful, repetitive loops that collectively manifest a double-headed figure.

Full Description

Open Arms (2011)

By Dave Greber with Jacob Edwards, Katie Gelfand, Matthew Holdren, Roel Miranda 7-channel video installation wood, wax, fabric, lemons, CRT TVs

"I drew from my early personal spiritual epiphanies and to create a material altar that would manifest my visions in a cycle. New Orleans Artist Dave Greber is here, and he begs to differ. In in his video installation “Open Arms,” Greber presents a very contemporary view of spirituality that incorporates current technologies, visual musings on the mysteries of physics and biology, the ancient theology and philosophy of Tibetan Buddhism, and a strange love of lemons - all wrapped-up in a sensibility that is, in turns, homespun and pop savvy. The truth is that Greber and I share an interest in a phenomenon that has laid a foundation for our separate spiritual paths. In his youth, Greber discovered relief from the boredom of public school education by … get this … rubbing his eyes. As we all know, when one’s eyes are rubbed, the phenomenon of “seeing stars” occurs. It sounds like a strange thing to base one’s spirituality on, don’t it? However, if you break down the phenomenon critically, this becomes an inquiry into the nature of reality - something vital to any artist and his/her artistic practice. After a good eye rub, typically, one’s optic nerve is stimulated by the pressure exerted on the eye. The pressure is translated into various visual patterns. The images that result are called “phosphenes” - entoptic phenomena characterized by the experience of seeing light without light actually entering the eye. Rubbing one’s eyes is basically a cheap and harmless way of having a psychedelic experience. It’s also a great way to experience the unity of reality - the way the microscopic mirrors the macroscopic. In the experience of a phosphene, we confront the interior dynamics of the body - dynamics which we typically give little attention to until our attention is directed to them. It’s similar to the moments when we attend to our breathe. What’s interesting is that we have given the interior phenomenon of the phosphene a label that refers to the exterior world - “seeing stars.” As far a objects in the universe go, things don’t get much more macroscopic than stars. In this way, we humans have made a connection between the most infinitely small phenomena to the largest. In his video installation “Open Arms,” Greber uses the phenomenon of the phosphene as a visual glue - an element uniting the disparate images contained in the piece as a whole. Multi-limned beings reminiscent of Tibetan gods slice through space and time with knives. Skulls multiply like cells. A license plate appears from a column of fire, and lemons dance around the screen. The Tibetan Buddhist “Wheel of Karma,” an infinite circle made from a snake, a pig and a chicken attempting to devour each other, spins in the center of it all. The effect of the visuals mixing with the sound is mesmerizing.
Greber has created an altar for his own specific brand of spirituality. Yet there is something very universal to his altar. Like its title suggest, it is an inclusive piece of art. It is both a personal statement, yet it feels incredibly universal in its representation of life, death, and everything in between. This could be due, in part, to Greber’s process in making the piece. He utilized the work of various artists and artisans to put together the piece, including an animator and a furniture maker who used wood salvaged from the destruction of Katrina to build the support structure of the piece. “Open Arms” is basically a group project overseen by Greber. Greber’s gesture in this respect is incredibly generous by opening-up his artwork to other creators. It is a beacon of openness in a world that in many respects has become more entrenched in narrow thinking and fear. Through his work, Greber points to the relevance of an open spirituality in contemporary society, one that is at once personal, universal, and all-encompassing." - Reggie Michael Rodrigue

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Artist Statement

I drew from my early personal spiritual epiphanies to create an altar that would manifest my blessing.


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