The show focuses six Americans artists working in varied media, each providing a glimpse into the garbage and glory of American pop culture. Exploiting and alternately celebrating an over-glorified beauty that transforms the natural into the artificial, this exhibition explores the notion of Americana and the useless gifts (or souvenirs).
George Boorujy, Jeremy Earhart, Jon Elliott, Bill Lohre, Marci MacGuffie, Trong Nguyen
Curated by Daria Brit Shapiro
From our living room to yours focuses on six American artists working in varied media, each providing a glimpse into the garbage and glory of American pop culture. Exploiting and alternately celebrating an over-glorified beauty that transforms the natural into the artificial, this exhibition explores the notion of Americana and the useless gifts (or souvenirs) we give to the rest of the world, from our living room to yours.
Using graphics taken from postcards and sightseeing brochures, Jeremy Earhart’s glowing plexi and blacklight installations transport us back to a 1970’s American “rec-room" clad in shag carpet and inundated with smoke and incense. Resembling psychedelic album cover art, Earhart’s wall sculptures demonstrate the quintessentially American tendency to exalt the ordinary to mythical status, turning it into nothing more than smoke and mirrors.
In an opposite gesture, Bill Lohre’s wall-mounted paper sculptures of historically charged places, such as the White House, are meticulously crafted from paper, cardboard and lollipop sticks; symbols of American power and privilege are rendered into disposable, innocuous objects, transforming the powerful into a mere plaything.
Borrowing the colors of the Vietnamese flag, Trong Nguyen’s cake, made of oil paint, reads, “Happy Birthday War", commemorating the recent 30th anniversary of the Vietnam War. Playing off the idea of Magritte’s c’est ne pas un pipe, Nguyen is simultaneously poking fun at the American tradition of celebrating the wrong thing, as well demonstrating our own distinct brand of schadenfreude.
Marci MacGuffie’s mixed media installations and cut-paper collages investigate the inevitability of natural chaos and futile attempts at institutional order. Each paper assemblage seems to be growing out of another, into and on the walls. With repetitive patterns interpreting hair, feathers, grasses, these works are about the unstoppable “forces of nature", that no matter how powerful civilization deems itself, we are unable to control.
Also concerned with nature, George Boorujy’s large-scale ink drawings of American landscapes are littered with the errant bit of trash or graffiti, remnants of popular culture. Demonstrating how artificiality and plasticity is slowly edging in on nature, Boorujy’s drawings depict open American terrains, once full of possibility, now bearing heinous characteristics of inner city culture.
Similarly, Jon Elliott’s paintings depict interactions between with technology and nature. Computers and televisions are piled in garbage heaps, dumped into riverbeds and abandoned fields. Elliott’s work echoes America’s extremely wasteful culture; our technological innovations and progressions become throwaways, inorganic matter acclimating itself into a once natural landscape.
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