Back to All Events

The Difference Between a Flower and a Weed is Seeing

FLAX studio presents a solo show by local San Antonio artist Justin Korver on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Artist’s Statement

The title of this exhibition, the difference between a flower and a weed is seeing, is a response to William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury. Benjy, the cognitively disabled son of the Compson family, narrates the first section of the novel. As I read the novel, I was struck by Benjy in part because of his nonverbal state. He is captivated by images and curiously mixes literal and poetic language. When Benji sees a reflection of firelight on a favorite slipper, the slipper is fire, he believes in the reality of an image. He sees the everyday as meaningful, the prosaic as poetic, and the objective in deeply emotional terms.

Benjy’s understanding of the material world strikes me as fundamentally artistic and is illustrated by his passion for the gypsum weed. Benjy renames the gypsum weed as a flower. The simple gesture of re-framing assigns value to the formerly abject. Benjy, or Benjamin, or Maury himself goes through several re-namings that illustrate his family’s changing attitudes toward him. I found Benjy’s re-evaluation of the gypsum flower an apt metaphor for my own project of redefinition, and borrowed from Faulkner’s thinking as I titled this exhibition.

In the difference between a flower and a weed is seeing, I am looking at the way that a veil changes the way we see an object, and the way that value is assigned through attention or sight. I find that sight is deeply connected with choice. Out of the visual cacophony of our lives, we choose to notice some things and discard others. We actively un-see all the time.

Paradoxically, the tools and images of tools in the exhibition are made into art, made visible, by the obstruction of our view. We engage with a drill, chop saw, belt sander as aesthetic because of the imposition of a purely decorative pattern. The chiffon and pattern transfigures the utilitarian tool into a pretty. little. thing. The tools have been completely objectified. Alternately, ornamentation and obfuscation of the tool are also what rescues them from the prosaic, the invisible.


About the artist: 

Justin Korver is an artist living and working in San Antonio, Texas. Originally from a small town in the northwest corner of Iowa, Korver moved to Holland, Michigan to complete his undergraduate work at Hope College. He also lived and worked briefly in New York through the N.Y.C.A.M.S. program where he interned with Phoebe Washburn. Korver received his MFA from the University of Texas at San Antonio where he taught introductory sculpture and 3D foundations. He is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Distinguished Artist Award, the Stanley Harrington Art Award, Herman Miller Award, the Art Presidential Fellowship, Peggy and Richard Valvert Endowment, & the Art Guys Endowment. While pursuing his graduate degree Korver worked with a number of arts organization in San Antonio. He works as an art handler at the Southwest School of Art, As the volunteer coordinator with Luminaria, and as an intern and associate educator at the Artpace. Korver is now a full-time lecturer at Texas A&M San Antonio. He has also exhibited extensively in Texas and nationally.