John Moran (US)
Artist statement: Mel Brooks once said, “Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die”.1 My work is more like a car accident. I pull inspiration from everywhere and mash things together, not poetically but aggressively. I think of my work as a collision of history and contemporary, politics and pop culture, humor and tragedy, refined and unkempt, and different materials and aesthetics, all mashed together into a cohesive and concise mass of beautiful wreckage that makes it hard to turn away.
As a storyteller, my work is constructed from a series of anecdotes, references, and experiences. While I do draw ties to American pop culture, politics, and social issues, I do not do this arbitrarily. I attempt to illustrate how I see the barrage of consumerism, religion, and politics colliding with depictions of social injustice, secular beliefs, and popular culture. I myself am a product of all of these things; I am American and America was founded on dissent. To paraphrase Picasso: my work is a collection of lies, hopefully helping the viewer realize the truth2. Though for me the truth is not absolute, it is simply how I see the world. It is not necessarily an attempt at subversion, but more an attempt to reconcile, and in a way celebrate, the absurdity and hypocrisy of society.
I strive to achieve this through chronic appropriation, not of imagery in the same sense as Richard Prince or Andy Warhol, but of ideas. I am not as interested in using the depictions of the Pieta or the Presidents, it is their auras I want to use, all of the baggage surrounding them, every preconceived notion and stereotype that already exists, and then I want to smash them together with conflicting or separate notions and stereotypes where I see similar attributes.
It may not seem autobiographical, but my experiences and observations are the genesis of my ideas. Each piece is a reaction to a specific event, but is not an illustration of it. I pull from everything around me. My own political and religious views, art, books, movies, family, and popular culture culminate into layers of seemingly random references, multiple components, and a visual overload that mimics our daily experience.