Connected: Laocoon

Connected: Laoccon
66″x102″x5″
gunpowder, graphite, acrylic, wood. [2011]

This is a continuation of a recent theme: re-purposing powerful or violent historical characters that have been immortalized in sculpture. This piece is especially poignant as the father struggles to free himself (and his 2 sons) from a serpent, which I have conveniently removed. Without seeing the deadly serpent the characters are fragmented, ripped apart by an unknown force.

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Fulfilling the void (pt. II)

These works are explorations of space, most notably characterized by populating a circular form with a pattern to dirupt any idea of pure space, instead exploring ideas of the positive/negative shifts that alter our perception. There are 2 rifles, barrel to barrel, forming a negative space phallus ejaculating upwards also disguised, disrupted, by this pattern. The content, masculine and phallic, machine and organic, forms a layering of complexity subverting the imagery into designed beauty. This is, of course, by intent. It is cultural camoflauge.

 

The idea for me, is to present something beautiful, offering a subliminal message of power and violence that the viewer walks away from without fully realizing. It is the way subtle temes and memes work in society to replicate themselves, the viewer is simply a host to the idea and as such it has a virulent spread due to our inability to recognize the source.

I equate this spread of ideas with cultural violence and power.

Pattern and Guns

"MG08_sledge i" gunpowder, graphite, and goldleaf on paper, 2010, 22x15in

I found a guy online who makes custom pistol grips with baroque patterning.

This is bizarre, but it seems to be common that men decorate their instruments of death. In an attempt to embrace this patterning as a way to romanticize a weapon I have incorporated pattern into my new piece.

The commentary on patterning as a way to dissolve or fracture a space (often  through beauty) is a fascinating outlook that parallels socialized violence and the structure that it inhabits.

Update _ PART II :: The more I present this idea of floral or organic patterning the more references appear… The Victorian era of glorified stag hunts in Europe, baroque art and framing, the patterning found on a dollar bill, the gilded decorations of architecture, and wallpaper/tapestry from all eras. BUT, most importantly for me, the parallel to Illuminated manuscripts with the decorative imagery abstracting the symbols while imbuing them with beauty, obsession, and power.

Update_ PART III :: Strangely enough, I haven’t discussed the feminine aspect. Many weapons have a phallic nature or shape (spears, arrows, rifles, etc…) and I would hazard to guess that more men own and use guns than women ( though I have not researched this). Based on that premise, why would a man decorate his weapon with vines and organic plant patterning? My first thought is that beautification is a balancing attempt. It is a way to focus on life/nature rather than the purpose or intent of the weapon. Maybe it is a belated attempt to square violent death with nature: a way to subconsciously disguise from himself the unnatural power that comes from wielding a gun.