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Portfolios: May 2012 Curator Reviewed Art
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I find this work to be an interesting amalgamation of pop and illustrative influences, but it doesn’t have a clear political persuasion. This ambiguous content actually holds my interest, as I try and decode the graphic references to popular culture, politics and perhaps graffiti. This altered Cubist image of Uncle Sam has all of the requisite recognizable elements from the original Flagg poster, but stays outside the louder contemporary discourse about recruitment or patriotism. The richly hued reds and blues create visual impact and solidity of form, while the jagged rib shapes protruding from the figure on the right side threaten to envelop the figure, or viewer. But Uncle Sam’s eyes lack the direct confrontational stare to which we’ve grown accustomed in the original depiction, weakening the strength of the personified government. The pointing finger is also proportionally small- our eyes instead are moved throughout the picture plane to the sharper edge architectural shapes. The piece entitled Magnolia is also intriguing in its lack of specificity. Whereas the other overtly figurative works anchor the viewer in the scene, Magnolia is part industrial complex, part robotic cartoon. Chucky fragments of blue and green create a pleasing pattern, as the modeled ground imparts a more clear figure-ground relationship. It reminds me of Phillip Guston’s strange figures, filling the environment with confused familiarity. These works seem to build on a lexicon of the everyday, and reward the viewer with our visceral rapport, if not cogent understanding.
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