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PURPLEXITY AND AMBIGUITY IN WARNEKE

ETYMOLOGY NO, ENTOMOLOGY YES! Right at the core of Ken Warneke’s art is a simple but crucial observation: human existence is no longer to be defined, rationalized, or excused by the complex constructs of our minds, but instead is most clearly made manifest by the multiple inanities of our bodies and beings. With deadpan assuredness this artist turns upside-down the grand humanist tradition that has dominated Western thought since the Renaissance. Humankind for Warneke stands no more atop the chain of being, and cannot be posited as the summa of the universe. Instead of individual integers endowed with unique and inalienable person-hood, we humans are for Warneke the denizens of a teeming hive, interchangeable units of larger social orders, victims, not rulers, of our place in the world. A reading of Warneke’s work over the past decade seems inexorably to point toward a single premise:

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