31 August 2023 until 11 September 2023
Artist’s Statement – Craig Visser
As an artist there is a vanity in subjecting people to what we create, and exposing oneself to the monstrous or supportive critic. But I am willingly riding that roller-coaster, surfing the rhizomic taskscape, the paradoxical, antagonistic, and yet symbiotic relationships in our world human versus nature versus nurture versus determination. The veneer of identity that shifts or is constructed with a social media post, and forms the narrative of a life. These works take all that and collide with them landscape and still life which form the Boa backdrop to our lives. The work in this exhibition seeks to evaluate and challenge the vanity monsters we create, the presentation of lies in order to sell an ideal. While neatly vacuum packed they are tainted with the reality of life. These consumables are fleeting while the work seeks to make you stop, look and think again.
Statement about vanity monsters
As artists have plucked inspiration and imagery from nature I want to evaluate the impacts this has on the constructs we deliver through social media. Landscape and still life are common tropes and I focus on the detail in these, fragmenting them much the way we present the best fragments of ourselves, the presentation of a lie. Much like artists present a lie of that still life or that landscape which is interpreted by the artists eye, hand, and brushstroke or camera capture. The images are square, making them instagrammable, the place where so much presentation of what we do and who we are happens. The human form is missing from the work (or presented as fragments), the viewer becomes the active players, observing and interacting with the work which awaits its players like the scenery from a theatrical production. I like to think of my work hanging in seedy motel rooms, with ugly over designed wallpaper. With pattern and colour clashes. Similarly real paintings that you find in these rooms are of nature, people are seldomly represented. Motels are places demarcating journeys with my work attempting to act as reminders, as milestones that facilitate movement onward. They act as pieces in a giant puzzle where things don’t always match, are missing or don’t go to plan. They are the chaos in my mind.
The work becomes all “look at me, aren’t I pretty?” Mistakes are carefully edited, activity choreographed, blemishes airbrushed to oblivion. The veneer of conformity, our natures editorialised for consumption.
Brief statements about works that draw from my thinking, a flow of thought that may inform the work and set the viewer on a path.
Sharper than a Knife
The vanity inherent in social media, consumption (I want a more expensive handbag, lipstick, designer jacket, car, house, etc, etc), all vanity. Inevitably we become greedy monsters as Giger said – we are monsters. The cost for our vanity is high, the incongruity of servicing our needs against the effort and resources needed to do that. We recycle, yet want diamonds in our ears, on our fingers, gold for the neck, the wrist, even gold on our food. But don’t consider the price the Earth pays and inevitably it’s like cutting our own throats.
The paintings remind me of early 20th century advertisements. Selling an ideal from a bygone age, but updated for a more informed time. But what we sell is just as vacuous, as veneered as those ideals. Background scenery from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, text from some of the most often used advertising slogans – we are sleeping beauties selling our stuff.
Sea Hydra’s reconstructed as monsters and swimming in a viral sea. Chop off it’s head and two replace it.
Poisonous and deadly plants anointed with clipart holy fire. Ignore what grows in your garden at your peril, and beware what you plant.
Use of 50s children’s text book images, representing a bucolic view of the world following the horrors of World War 2, a view from Eagle’s Nest, trees from the Black Forest where horrific acts were committed; a plague village, trees from Aokigahara-jukai, a view from Yosemite, all with stylised anthrax running through (google these to understand the violence). Not about war but a reminder that beautiful scenery can have a violent past. Taking what we have for granted is fraught with dangers.
The Flesh Eaters
Flesh is the multiplied commodity (the consumer becomes the consumed ad infinitum) like looking down a kaleidoscope, or a Rorschach test (used up to the 1980’s to ascertain homosexual tendencies); you are either the hunter or the hunted.
Setting for a *** film……
Ruben’s would often overpaint or make changes to paintings by other artists that he owned. Taking this idea and extracting elements from Dutch Still Lifes and placing these into incongruous domestic scenes where life is played out, places where narratives are constructed overwriting again, and again..…
Make your own (backdrop)
Images extracted from my paintings, backdrops for your selfie…..