Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Collagraph Prints, 3 Variations on a Theme

The work addresses the issue of a disconnect from nature, essentially remaking the natural world in our own image, taming it and subjecting it to the strict modern grid. The bear has been completely removed from its element and placed in an environment in which even organic objects are scripted and alienated. The background grid represents the bars of a cage, but also the rigid rubric of Euclidean city planning. Even the color palette serves to disassociate the natural objects from the earthtones they usually evoke. The third large piece gives the impression of footsteps imprinted in soft earth, but around the edges begins to glow with a nearly neon aura, further separating the natural and man-made.

I think that if the elements from the "Vinita Voogd method" collages were applied to the larger prints, the architectural lines found in the collage would further contrast the organic shapes. The overall appearence is very illustrative and playful in a kind of fairy tale way. The foreground is whimsical but the background is austere, as if trying to reconcile the world of childhood with the world of adulthood. In one world, the bear is not yet ferocious, but a kind of imaginary friend, gentle and intrigued by umbrellas. It is enclosed in the quilted dream bubble of youth, but faces an encounter with a more severe environment in the future. Its enclosure is pressed on every side, even invaded by a more dangerous looking shape, but it still holds against the outside.

The public symbolism of blue makes me perceive the bear as a male, although the overall composition is not distinctively masculine. This symbolism and the other themes addressed makes me think of the work of Mike Kelley, where the world of childhood and the pathetic was confronted with the depravity of adulthood.

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