Rule No. 8: Don’t Look Down!


‘The coyote is a living, breathing allegory of Want.’ Mark Twain-Roughing It


Wile E. Coyote typifies the human condition. His self-defeating chase in the roadrunner-rat-race and pursuit of hare-brained mechanisms only as a means become his catastrophes. An eternal optimist, Coyote’s futile and bombastic approach never fails his failure to achieve. Appropriating the anvil as iconography, theatrical prop, and archetypal bookend, Rule No. 8: Don’t Look Down! frames a critical view of a reliance on technologies and indebtedness to an ideology, despite Coyote’s best efforts, which find him no closer to satisfying his Wants than when he began.


In Coyote’s world the viewer is confronted with deliberate, deceptive, and deluded possibilities. Objects, material, and their configurations reframe conversations concerning consumption, the environment, and labor, revealing their precarious nature and impact on his relationship towards the world. Moreover, they recall a surrealistic tableau and 21st century vanitas-esque landscape reminding us of life’s fluidity, the emptiness of excess and pleasure, and our mortality.


Gravity and water are motifs in Coyote’s barren world. The exhibition title riffs on the notion of gravitational cognizance, that is, Coyote will not succumb to gravity until he looks down. Gravity also plays a role in corralling the formless material of water as both a necessary resource and destructive force. Their interplay conveys tension and hints to the illusion of mirage or optical hallucination often depicted in Coyote’s native environment: the desert.


Alchemy and farcical gestures serve as thresholds to decontextualize material and modest objects that we think we know. Moments are created where the mundane becomes both menacing and magical, as each uncanny instance reshapes the object and estranges the viewer’s perception through an unfamiliar lens.


Rule No. 8: Don’t Look Down! metamorphose the commonplace through artistic actions that replace our inattention with contemplation, making more visible the life forces within objects. These works recall the social phenomena of our existential dissonance that constrain the mind and body, and while making these relationships more perceptible, their fallibility is revealed as something to fall hard and fast. ‘Meep, meep!’


-Keith Kaziak, 2022