Research and Development
Art is the R&D for culture. Artists Conduct the R&D for society. With this series I create a collection of works that, when exhibited together, suggest a group show by different artists from different periods, all relating in one way or another to one of three iconic images: a micro-compressor chip, a pre-Columbian vase, and an ancient Greek statue.
Art is the R&D for culture. Artists Conduct the R&D for society.
In the late twentieth century painting was rejected in some circles as a viable art medium for a postmodern world. Painting, the thinking went, was too loaded with historical baggage and outdated as a means of communication in the face of new technologies. But it was precisely this historical baggage that suited the exploration of the societal and cultural predilections that formed the basis of my work.
This series was the first time I deliberately varied my painting approach, evoking various 19th and 20th century styles and art movements. The denial of personal style was in fact liberating; I was free to indulge in multiple artistic interpretations.
Embarrassingly, this idea came in a dream. I dreamt of an exhibition of paintings of differing artistic styles in which each work had in common a single iconic image. When I woke up I expanded on the idea by adding a few other images that would play off one-another while thematically unifying the work.
The first object was a pre-Colombian vase, evocative of ancient indigenous cultures and implied European attitudes of cultural supremacy. I had previously used this image in my Archeology series. The second image was a classical sculpture, and the third was a silicon chip motif. The chip was also previously used in earlier work, but here its appearance was used to evoke a variety of other ancient and contemporary sources. Eventually, vintage pin-ups-typically viewed as disposable pop culture-played a roll in some of the works.
These four elements are repeatedly contextually reassigned and stylistically re-interpreted throughout the series in which, much the same as scientists continuously test and explore new ideas, art history-and history in general-is viewed as one long process of research and development.