Alpha Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Aaron Fink based on the ancient Greek poet Homer, opening on April 1st and continuing through May 5th. Taking as his starting point the well-known bust of Homer in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (and to a lesser extent the one in the British Museum), Fink presents a set of variations on a theme, meditating on this iconic image and the personage it embodies.
Mystery permeates Fink’s paintings, as it does the legend of Homer. The epic poems the Iliad and the Odyssey are attributed to Homer and he is considered a seminal figure in Western literature, but it is unknown exactly when he lived or, as some suggest, whether he indeed lived at all. Was he the blind poet named Homer or was he a mythical figure; a historical construct? How much do current texts, passed down and altered over time, resemble whatever the original may have been? How do we assign meaning to something so slippery?
Fink addresses these questions by presenting many different “Homers.” The serial fashion in which he typically works lends itself well to this particular exploration. Emerging from darkness, each takes on a visage suggesting various states ranging from the comedic to the tragic. They vary in scale from intimate to monumental. Some are fully present in the light and some appear to disintegrate back into the darkness. Fink enshrouds Homer’s visage in veils of paint creating a pictorial metaphor for the blindness of the poet, as well as the elusiveness of the subject as a whole.
In art history, the term “lost original” stands for a work that has been copied and/or interpreted by others, while the original work no longer exists. We only know the original from the works inspired by it. Fink suggests that we can only begin to “know” Homer through the act of interpretation, of reiteration, each attempt presenting a possible answer, knowing that there is no true answer.
Aaron Fink was born in Boston in 1955. He received his MFA from Yale University and his BFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art. His work has been exhibited widely throughout the U.S., Europe and Japan, and is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, NY, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among many others. He lives and works in the Boston area.