Friday, October 30, 2009

We the People

"We the People," the current exhibition on display throughout Hamden, CT, brings the startled citizenry of this small New England town a look at the darker side of the human condition.

These anonymous Hamden artists have taken the venerable form of the portrait bust and through a few well-chosen displacements of medium and presentation made it a potent vessel for commentary on contemporary life.

They have discarded traditional media such as stone or bronze and replaced it with the pumpkin, producing disturbingly hollow, irregularly shaped heads. Eschewing pedestals, these gourds-as-heads have been placed directly in the suburban landscape, vacant eyes staring up at the viewer from the ground, emphasizing the strange decapitated quality of these emptied shells.

Though the facial expressions are frequently carved with forceful exaggeration and animation, the artists have gone to great lengths to emphasize the void within the head, often inserting a candle or some other feeble light source to illuminate the vacuum behind the frenzied physiognomies.

Strangely, considering the earthy methods used to create these images, they seem to warn of a terrible detachment from reality that is only possible in our digital media-saturated age. These heads act as disembodied emoticons, portraits of the frantic and empty doppelgangers that replace actual human beings in the reality-programming based fully interactive one-stop shopping chatroom that we find ourselves swimming through in 2003.

On display through November 1

Text and images taken from FIMP's exhibition catalog/Book of the Month from October 2003

1 comment:

Judith Hoffman said...

I love these photos! The titles and text are great, too. Maybe you should take up art criticism (in your "spare" time, of course).