ARTIST STATEMENT

                                                                                                                                               

As media becomes increasingly polarized, we are asked to choose sides. Media outlets reinforce the impending demise of “our way of life”, irrespective of which side of the divide we occupy. News media and politicians tell us who and what are we fighting for, giving us clear definitions of who is like “us”, and shaping our fears and perceptions of the other.

 

My most recent series, “the neophobic kingdom” consists of landscapes. Landscape is usually the domain of two-dimensional artists but I use sculptural landscapes to evoke a tradition based in the bucolic, a placid world of a ‘time forgotten’ and infuse it with contemporary fears and anxieties - genetically modified foods, immigration, climate change, and terrorism. By depopulating the landscape, I create a void, a stage for a single event - a storm or tornado, a raft on the ocean, a bomb blast crater, or a smoke stack. Of course, my own privileged position allows me to experience events such as mass migration or the war in Syria from a safe distance through edited images, this changes the way I understand the issues also, as all information is mediated in some way or fashion, and I too am subjected to bias or misinformation.

 

The traditional techniques of bronze casting wed with contemporary concerns make the sculptures historically connected and at this intimate scale the audience has to face the inescapability of their fears even as our leaders ask us to isolate ourselves from the world. Bronze conveys authority due to its long history of having been used as prized material for statues of gods, politicians and heroes as well as a war material for armor, cannons, helmets, and spears. By casting non-traditional subject matter and utilizing’s bronzes’ history as prized material, I subvert the dialogue between material and subject and instead of idealizing the subject matter, I offer an alternative representation of the landscape which questions and presents the reality of our demise. I utilize a romanticism period device of a pedestal to elevate these vignettes’ much like monumental pedestals were used to force the viewer to look up, thus imposing a hierarchy, in idea and importance. My work declares it is time to ask the question of what sits on our pedestals.

 

 

 

© 2018 by Thad Duhigg

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