A sculptural archetype is a three dimensional sign loaded with both timeless and historical meaning. Archetypes are encrusted with everyday nonsense and it requires unusual creative energy to provide access to those emblematic forms which reconcile the contingent and the permanent. In "Standard Bearings" , Jim McAninch employs such creative energy to precisely that end.
" Standard Bearings" was shown in an empty store on a street close to the ocean in San Pedro during the Los Angeles Arts Festival - Peter Sellars director.
The installation consisted of eight bronze pieces displayed on a wooden platform like a boat. The back drop included definitions of the words "standards" and "bearings" and a diagrammatic drawing of a house surrounded by trees. The light
entered and exited the rough texture of the bronzes, rendering them phantomic: the boat and its objects looked like witnesses or survivors, having undergone mysterious hardships and carrying important messages.
"Standard Bearings" is about destruction and conservation, the collapse and survival of our planet. (Another of Mcaninch's boat installations , shown at the same time at the other end of the county is titled Eco-lapse Guardians) Mcaninch's sculpture differs from other ecological art in that its duality-conservation/destruction -is not divisive and didactic but interactive and poetic. The results from the artist's provocative conjugation of technical decisions and referential choices. For example, the venerable technique of bronze casting is applied to everyday consumer objects such as a comb, Coca Cola cans and their plastic holders and a soccer ball(which suggests the earth.) Conceptualist devices and museum-like installation introduce the boat as a grand archetype of human and cosmic cycles, but also as an unassuming version of the popular bottled ship.
McAninch's sculpture , which combines cosmic consciousness with a sharp perception of todays consumerism , and a fascination for naivete with aesthetic sophistication, conveys and overpowers the high anxiety of the time of the eco-lapse. -Sanda Agalides Professor of Art History/ Critical Studies Calarts