Want to tread on a slick hardwood floor in the Kirk Beason Gallery at the AAO (Art Association of Oswego)? Me too.
My name is Ron Throop. I am having an exhibition on November 5 which will display 60 new paintings for sale. All proceeds go toward sprucing up the galley with a new hardwood floor, or refinishing the old one. The walls are white, the lighting bright, pocket doors are ordered, but the old floor is battle worn and beat. Not fitting for the great effort in remodeling the downstairs of the Art Association. Donations made here go directly to the AAO. If you crave a creative 2022 tax write off more than my art, then this is the place to let go of some dough. I couldn’t blame you. My work is a tough sell to any respectable home.
So please give your 10’s, 20’s, thousands of dollars anonymously or yawping your name from the rooftops. And then help spread the word. Any bit helps. $10 will figuratively pay for a square foot with your name on it. That’s kinda cool to think about. You can view the many changing exhibitions planned for the gallery while standing on your square foot. Unless you have big monster feet. Then you’ll have to donate more.
More about “The Pleasure at Being the Cause”.
Thanks to CNY Arts for their grant support to bolster this solo exhibition of paintings promoting an alternative definition of power, especially as it concerns freedom and art. Early 20th century psychologist Karl Groos studied infants and recorded their delight upon learning their actions could cause predictable effects. For instance, the observable thrill expressed by babies after manipulating the path of a toy by randomly moving their arms, and repeating the action and getting the same effect. Expressions of utter joy would ensue.
Groos coined the phrase “the pleasure at being the cause,” suggesting that this is the basis for play, which he saw as the exercise of powers simply for the sake of exercising them. Before Groos’ study, the majority of economists and social scientists believed humans seek power because of “an inherent desire for conquest and domination”. One hundred years of repeated experimental evidence proved otherwise, that aggressive suppositions like Nietzsche’s “will to power” were unfounded. Human beings love play and seek fulfillment through self expression, not domination.
Groos posited we exercise our powers as an end in themselves, even if the situation is pretend, which reminds me of another keen observer of humanity, Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote: “We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be.”
Tying his work to the ideas of the philosopher Friedrich Schiller, Groos suggested that this is all that freedom is. For instance, the desire to create art “is simply a manifestation of the urge to play as the exercise of freedom for its own sake as well. Freedom is our ability to make things up just for the sake of being able to do so”. Those who are denied (or deny themselves) the personal power of make-believe suffer as literal prisoners and slaves, privately, by the self-imposed refusal to implement their innate powers of freedom. As we recover from a historic pandemic, humankind is faced with the awesome responsibility to reassess our role in an interconnected world. Finding our personal power is essential to challenge arbitrary systems of control that threaten life on earth with climate and nuclear catastrophe, whichever comes first.
All paintings were made in 2022 while I pretended to be a painter just for the sake of being able to do so.