Nothing from Something. > More Nothing from Something.

Artist Mantra.

The conceptual artist was a mystic.
The artist was a conceptual mystic.
The artist was a mystical concept.
The conceptual mystic was an artist.
Sol LeWitt

The line between art and spirituality in contemporary art is an often tenuous one. Spiritual Art or art about religion is generally characterized as either polemic or naive. In other words, it is didactically critical or unabashedly uncritical. I often wonder if art and spirituality can be sincerely and critically united.

Ideas such as cycles (looping), duration, limitations, ritual (process), and reductionism have parallel relationships in art and religion. I use the history of minimal music and visual art as a departure point for my work. I find striking similarities between these art movements and various aspects of world religions. Often governed by codes, rules, scripture, instructions or guides, a sense of distillation is prevalent. Whether it is form, content, authority, or dietary restrictions, and personal actions, these limits function to develop new comprehension and refined awareness. What metaphors can be gleaned from repetitive action and production? By restricting creative options what new possibilities arise? Does meditation in mind and hand reveal deeper meaning?

The materials I utilize reflect on the the history of recorded media, access to information and the post minimal sound and art movements, specifically the abrupt absence or abandonment of the movement in the 1980's. What happens when post minimalism meets postmodernism?


Robert John Mertens

Crocheted tape/ connection between John Cage-Steve Reich/ Sol LeWitt Series of random crochet patterns (doodles/sketches) with used cassette tapes from the 1980s. Tape deck playing a five second tape loop of found voice. The piece plays until the batterie
Loop(ed)
Cassette Tapes, Cassette Deck
3.5x3.5x4
2014
$1000