Koren’s Capricious And Compelling Voice
by Molly Hamill
“Keep Calm and Carry On.” This motivational phrase produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War has had a massive revival in pop culture recently. You see the message on everything from t-shirts to tote bags. But what relevance does this notion of perseverance have for us today?
Pam Campanaro, associate curator of exhibitions and programs at Montserrat College of Art, has curated an exhibit showcasing artists who persist. “I Will Go On…,” on view at the Montserrat Gallery through April 2, exhibits artists whose processes “parallel the characteristics of a marathoner: endurance, repetition, and focus.”
Inspired by a passage from Samuel Beckett’s novel The Unnamable, in which the author talks to himself — “You must go on. I can’t go on. I’ll go on.” — the show gathers the work of Aaron Meyers, Jon Kuzmich, Liz Jaff, Rachel Perry and Jenny O’Dell.
In his sculptural performance piece, “It Must Be Nearly Finished” (2012-ongoing), Aaron Meyers sits on a wooden plank affixed to the gallery wall and continuously drills thousands of tiny holes into the wood until it breaks from under him and he falls. All that remains — the evidence of dogged determination — are sawdust and splintered planks, pocked with Meyers’ holes and lying collapsed like amputated limbs on the floor of the gallery. A fresh board protrudes from the wall awaiting the drill.