Thesis

SoFast summary me brief info about my thesis..

Art is a powerful medium which can transcend the boundaries between the natural world and man. Every day people walk the earth without fully taking in its intrinsic value. My artwork is meant to stage an eye opening revelation of the effects of modernization on human interaction, both interpersonally and with the natural world. I seek to question human knowledge, investigating the imagery that people are drawn to everyday, by exploring the sign signifier relationship of hyper consumerism. I look to the artists of the 1960s as well as activist artists Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer for inspiration. Through the use of plexiglass glass I try to convey these ideas of consumer fetishism and interconnection, playing off of the unique transmission of light through a layered plexi glass surface.

I am drawn to the tumultuous decade of the 1960s, reflecting on the colors and fortitude experienced during this time of social upheaval. The colors used by leading 1960s poster artists Wes Wilson and Lee Conklin engulf the viewer into an altered state of consciousness and psychedelic energy. The energy associated with these artworks can be directly reminiscent of the social radicalism and democratic spirit of the 1960s.

My main inspiration for my art comes from the mere blip of an art form known as liquid light shows. The liquid light shows fuse together the raw energy, bright colors and perceptual experiences into a multimedia event. I sought to mix both painting as well as the free flowing movements experienced in these light shows. Light shows are created by mixing oil and water creating an endless amount of intriguing organic shapes and constant movement . By combining the layering of plexi glass and the unique use of light, I was able to mimic the color and flow of the oil and water. The mixing of all these different elements create a phenomenological experience between the paintings and the viewers through visual discourses, primarily color.

The colors in all my paintings are closely associated with a time when art was challenging the status quo. The Fillmore poster artists used color as a way to evoke a feeling of energy and revolutionary thought that was felt during this time of political upheaval. Does my art reflect such a passionate revolutionary thought? I cant be certain, but my colors are intended to draw the viewer in and make a stark impression. My palette is bright and chaotic reminiscent of the Fillmore poster artists as well as the contemporary glass artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly explains his work as taking the audience to another place “Id like to think my work does take people to a different place1” my work may not transcend the viewer in the same sense as his work but maybe it does bring the viewer into a calming state of beauty through effulgent colors. I seek to communicate with the viewer, by shifting the colors appearance through light. By displaying my painted objects as an installation in a darkened space, I can draw the viewer in with the light and keep them engaged with my imagery.

Consumerism is spreading like rapid fire throughout the world and human interaction has now been reduced to a smartphone. Everyday the American consumer is manipulated through advertisements, film and media. People no longer think as an individual but as a generation. Marx argues that the idea of the individual is “historical and contingent”(341) not “natural and necessary”1 (341) If we look back in our past, humans have first formed families then formed clans and lastly formed societies. Capitalist try to rewrite history as a predestined pathway towards individualism, but in reality our current state of social structure is merely a result of the historical pathway we have found ourselves at today (ie:historical materialism) We are manipulated into thinking that the things important in life are the newest nike dunks and the most expensive souped up audi.

My main goal was to highlight this concept of materialism and attempt to reveal the actual allure of the world. In an attempt to demonstrate this idea of materialism bombarding the general public, I placed materialistic objects into the front plane of my paintings. I sought to reflect on how for an average individual it is almost impossible to see past the obstruction. Placing the consumer goods so abruptly in front posed many problems. The imagery created an effect that was too apparent on my viewer and took away the aesthetic beauty of the piece. The audience neglected to see all the detail and imagery that was hidden away under the top layer of Plexiglass. Though the objects in the foreground achieved what I intended by highlighting the strong effects that consumerism has on the general public, it was obscuring the natural beauty of my art and in turn made me apprehensive while looking at it. I was inclined to hide the consumer objects for my own satisfaction so that their visibility would be less prevalent yet still there, creating a less abrupt literal reaction from the viewer. Much like the Fillmore artists of the 1960s who eventually sold out to advertisement companies and lost their revolutionary thought, my art by the end lacked my intended meaning.

No publicity is bad publicity. By showing the nike dunks and various other consumer objects what is the viewer taking from that? Does the viewer understand my intended meaning behind the imagery or are they just taking it at face value? Consumerism has programmed societies minds to have automatic feedback when faced in front of semi recognizable material object. Even though I abstracted the objects into simple organic shapes, people were still drawn to the literal imagery. The fact that the audience was drawn automatically to a pair of nike dunks or an audi may just be me indirectly advertising these objects that I was trying to show in a negative way. What I needed to do was somehow transform the object viewer relationship and create a reflexive viewer who can see more then just the objects at face value.

1341, Art in theory

The use of plexiglass glass came into play, it was a way for my ideas to gain traction through a layering effect with both glass and light. With the addition of LED lighting, rather than the objects and imagery hitting you first the light hits you. People are taken off guard and in a literal sense the light illuminates the art as a whole, while in a figurative sense the light is helping to expose the beauty of the art piece from within. Rather then lighting the piece with institutionalized lighting I had the lighting coming from the artwork itself, signifying the potential beauty of the natural world. The world has so much to offer despite the artificial man made products being created everyday. However in trying to represent this idea of inner beauty I am using an object that is meant to be sold and displayed in a wealthy bourgeois home, Is this just a contradiction on myself?

I struggle with the question of, How does me selling my art as a trophy propagate what i’m trying to say about consumerism? The Paintings I created are more than merely a painting, they are an object within themselves, something that holds value to me as the artist. Ironically though I created an object similar to the neon advertisements used to draw people in to a run of the mill convenience store or cheap motel. Is this what I intended? To be honest, not exactly, but it does serve the function of taking such a manipulative medium and using it in a non conventional way. LEDs in today’s world are used to hype up a new muscle car or help accentuate a billboard. I was aiming to show the ill effects of consumerism and in turn wound up reflecting and using the manipulative tactics of the vindictive advertisement companies. 

I started to think more as a painter, throwing dripping and squeezing paint onto the surface. Loosing site of my imagery I let the paint control the outcome. The physicality of my paint is what sets it apart from those neon vindictive advertisements. Companies spend millions everyday to advertise their products in the perfect light, thinking extensively about color and organization. By letting my paint dictate, I was breaking away from a devised plan and in turn having the process create the art. I enabled the paint to create its own unintentional imagery with the glass by squeezing it in between the plexi as well as dripping it down the plexi. With the combination of carefully planned out imagery and the desultory imagery of the paints, the paintings began to read differently, resembling nature itself. However, getting too lost in the process some of the paintings became to chaotic.

At this point I went back and put my body into the art scrubbing into the surface and breaking up some of the clutter that I created. The breaking up of forms created new shapes and showed the underlying layers of plexi in a very peculiar way, resembling a coral reef or other various natural elements I left the light as a surprise towards the end, knowing the colors would change and my paintings would be transformed entirely. When turning off the lights and illuminating the paintings, I was pleasantly surprised. Though I may have lost my intended concept the paintings had become something beyond an idea, they were now a layering of processes. 

Overall, my concept of consumer fetishism was lost amongst the paint. Much like the Fillmore artists of the 1960s who fell into the advertisement companies hands and lost their intended revolutionary thought, my art by the end lacked my supposed meaning. I learned however that even with a misdirection in ideas, painting is more about the process and it is impossible to force feed the viewer. Not everything has to be taken literally. As the artist I know what my original concept was, and even though it didn’t pan out as intended I am still more than pleased with the overall outcome. The main attraction of my art is that I turned multi layered paintings into light-boxes. The light-boxes have created another layer onto the multi dimensional aspect of my artwork, adding a play on light. Its up to the viewer to interpret my artwork as they chose, and id like to think that the light is trying to illuminate the ill effects of consumerism, yet my original inspiration came from advice received by a curator, whose main intent is to sell. It cant be for certain how a viewer will react with it, and I wish for the audience to take from it what they will. As George Carlin says in his advertising lullaby skit “And by the way if you should have any cognitive dissonance about the fact that I do commercials for 10 10 220 and still attack advertising up here … well your just gonna have to figure that out on your own.“1 I too fall into this realm of consumerism, like the reality of needing to survive I need these new consumer technologies to spread my art.

1You tube. “through the looking glass”

IMG_3872

Advertisements

About this entry