• Gag Reflex
  • Gag Reflex
  • Gag Reflex

Gag Reflex

  • Added 11/11/2010

I think a lot about the current state of affairs in the U.S. – our loss of an industrial base, the erosion of the middle class, and the loss of white collar jobs through outsourcing. I worry about the loss of our Constitutional rights, how deadlocked the legislative branch of our government is. In the meantime I feel the rise of external forces impinging on us, for example that China owns our national debt, that both Iran and North Korea have nuclear armaments. We face real dangers, like global warming, or the depletion of fossil fuel, yet we seem incapable of addressing these problems in a concerted or constructive way, while other nations pull ahead of us.
I come from a small steel town in the Midwest. My father worked in the mills, but was able to better himself by getting a Masters Degree, and move from a blue collar to a white collar job. While growing up it was instilled in us that the industrial jobs that had supported our parents and grandparents would soon disappear. We were seeing the town die before our eyes, and in spite of the advice I got from my dad to get an education, I chose to work in factories. I learned many of the fabrication skills I have from the factory jobs.
My artwork is a commentary on what I see the U.S. has become – a self-absorbed, image-driven culture. We no longer have skilled labor in the country, and the media seems to be in cahoots with the country’s sense of denial. I use Safety and manufacturing colors – caution colors – to alert the viewer, yet the work has a cheerful candy-coated sheen even as things fall apart and explode. I refer to the absurdity of our consumption, that we even buy fabricated “trash.” We have been in two wars for almost ten years, but you’d never know it from our behavior.
I am influenced by Arman, Steinbach, Koons, among others, and Pop Art. I use the “failed discourse” of Minimalism as my base language. Hence, I believe that my work addresses the failures within the US. I don’t know if any answer can be found in the work, yet I believe the work shows not all of us are asleep at the wheel.

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