Please join me in the beautiful dance rehearsal and performance space at Belle Plaine Studio for an exhibition of paintings I made this summer with the help of an Individual Artist Support Initiative / Artist Project Grant from the Illinois Arts Council. I look forward to seeing you there!
Dates Aug 28, Sept 3, 4, 10, 11, 12, 2010
Hours 1:00 - 4:00 PM and by appointment, www.annekarsten.com/contact
Reception September 12, 1:00 - 4:00 PM
For the last decade I’ve worked with screen-captured images from eBay to create psychological portraits of items that people sell (FAQ’s here, gallery page here). My work explores how people create meaning for themselves through their associations with their possessions, whether this meaning is humorous, eerie, or poetic. For this exhibition of paintings, I looked to the global eBay marketplace to find objects for sale and knitted them together with the same surreal quality found in my past work. In this new series, the imagery hints at collective memories that are being sloughed off by a particular set of people at this time in history.
Many of the items depicted in the paintings were produced by people who lived before the culture of planned obsolescence and instant gratification, and reflect a slower, more careful, and less prolific approach to manufacturing that gave rise to the phrase ‘pride in workmanship’. Most of the depicted items have now become obsolete, replaced by high-tech alternatives or updated styles that are made desirable through corporate marketing. Even in recent history, human beings had fewer possessions than we do now, but the corollary idea that the past was a ‘simpler time’ is a myth; regardless of when they were made, possessions of all kinds help define human experience, and regardless of when people live, they participate in the range of human sentiment. The difference of course is that the past is closed, and bygone generations speak to us through the residual artifacts of their lives. In the present, these artifacts are auctioned to the highest bidder, though many fail to find a buyer. With the paintings, these items are gathered together and stylized to suggest perpetual human sensibilities such as isolation, frustration, ambition, resignation, and remorse.
This exhibition is supported in part by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.