Richard Aldrich | Oh, spider-man; to be so Fair

Oh, spider-man; to be so Fair
Richard Aldrich
Abyss Printing
52 pages
edition of 1,000
Paper Cover

I was hanging out with Steven Parrino a lot the summer of 2004. My record label was releasing a double lp of his band with Jutta Koether called Electrophilia. Jutta was in Germany that summer, so mostly it was just Steven and I finalizing graphic design things, but really, it was just me going over to his studio in north Greenpoint a couple times a week and hanging out. He would play for me hardcore music, of which I was never so into but enjoyed hearing him talk about it. He also give me advice: he went to see my show at Oliver Kamm, which was twenty small abstract paintings and a handful of sculptures on the ground, and suggested doing just one small black painting in an otherwise empty room. Looking back I learned quite a lot from him, but one thing that really sticks out is this three ring binder that he had put together that, as he said, compiled all of his most important work. I noticed that this dated back to when he was in undergrad, he told me he had been doing the same thing since he started school. I remember feeling good about that as I was having slight apprehension as I was realizing that what I was doing and where I seemed to be going was maybe just rehashing what I had done in undergrad.

“oh spider-man to be so fair” was the title of my bfa show– the first set of photos in this book. At the time I had made a few paintings of Spiderman, thinking about the relationship between him and peter parker, peter being the child that now has to grow up, and the inevitable loss of innocence that goes with that. I was in college then and had to start thinking about what it means to not be a kid anymore. At the time I saw Spiderman as the future unknown, this notion of being an adult, making adult decisions and having adult responsibilities. Looking back now, Spiderman becomes an endearing conception of adulthood by myself in my early 20s. And how to reconcile this? Time becomes an ongoing process of recontextualizing our own experiences, our own thoughts, our own memories, our own responses— “how does it look like this?” This is how we come to understand the contours of our psyche– a cubist understanding of emotional space as we engage with our own bodies as they move and grow. For now this book is the recent past, fifteen years ago, long enough and labeled “college work”, though in 20, or 50, or 100 years, the continuum between 1997 and 2004 and 2014 will be much smoother and normalized— there won’t be this narrative bump as described above. I am interested in the point at which the book becomes less of a, perhaps overly-clever, conceptual gesture meant to show that my work has changed little over the past twenty years, and more a rote cataloguing of early work.