A Step Into David Alexander Flinn's "Secret Garden"

A Step Into David Alexander Flinn's "Secret Garden"

The artist invites his viewer on a cerebral journey of introspection.

The artist invites his viewer on a cerebral journey of introspection.

Text: Brandon Tan

Taking his first seat in over two weeks to answer my call is artist David Alexander Flinn, fatigued but enthused. Opening the following night is the exhibit he had been busily installing until our conversation, titled "Secret Garden" at Cy Fiore Gallery in New York City. Aptly named for its cryptic, but inviting nature, the show brings forth introspective notions on identity and the human experience. "An explorative journey," he calls it, examining how the hell humans have gotten to where we are and why. Through an investigation of our history alongside consideration of our present, the artist sets out to decipher the extent of which our nature is conditioned by society. "Where does our ego end and where does nature start? What are we versus what we want to be? How did we get here?" ponders Flinn on the line. In that moment, I take a seat.

Flinn's name bears many titles: successful model signed to IMG by trade; student of Brazilian jiu-jitsu by discipline; artist, photographer, and quasi-theorist by passion. Manifestation, one of Flinn's foremost principles, has served as a major proponent for his multi-fold career. The artist claims to have even manifested projects that had sprouted from seeds of thought five years prior. Having started as just a name before a body of mixed-media works, “Secret Garden” is no different.

"Where does our ego end and where does nature start? What are we versus what we want to be? How did we get here?"

courtesy of IMG

Flinn employs irony to derive the philosophy of his work, putting into conversation with each other topics typically polarized, like analog and digital, or nature and nurture. In the show, he highlights these themes of disparity through the application of contrasting media, raising similar questions to those mentioned prior. Materializing these messages into the digestible medium of art, Flinn opens a discourse among viewers surrounding his ideas, inviting them into his secret garden. He accepts this as the responsibility of an artist—to conjure such ideas into the public's consciousness, to provoke thought. 

"Art itself doesn't bear responsibility, but the artist does," he comes to terms with after a moment of thought. The responsibility being to conjure such provocative ideas into the public's consciousness. In that perspective, Flinn identifies two kinds of people: the conscious and the mindless. 

“It’s almost like we have the graveyard shift and having to think about other people don’t think about… If you want to make art you’ve got to think about stuff a lot harder, and a lot more about it. You know it takes it takes a certain type of person and a certain person's capacity to deal with things that you might not want to have to think about," he philosophizes.

Though describing his work as the 'graveyard shift' of thinking, I see Flinn as having planted his "Secret Garden" as a supply of cognitive nourishment. Food for thought, if you will. Inviting the viewer on a cerebral journey of introspection, the artist really makes a case for looking within before looking to others for answers. --a mechanism of convenience we have grown all too accustomed to relying upon.

For your own taste of self-reflection, visit Flinn's show open to the public at its Cy Fiore Gallery-home until January 11th.

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