The Art of Noise
Exhibition Dates 23 September - 23 October 2010 Like the buzz on a telephone or the snow on a television screen, our urban environment is filled with visual 'noise', that is for the most part extraneous and meaningless interference. From advertising on endless billboards that litter our highways, to the torrents of television commercials and pop-up ads on our computer screens - our identities have become defined by the logos and products that we associate ourselves with.
Opening Thursday 23 September 6-8 pm
In the 'Art of Noise' I have continued to explore my own love/hate relationship with the visual signifiers of consumerism that we are bombarded with every day. By subverting and juxtaposing these logos, slogans, characters and motifs, I serve to objectify and recontextualize them into alternative dialogues. This objectification extends into the use of the curved edges on some of the artworks, which reinterprets the normal square-edged, 'window view' of the picture plane that we are normally presented with in painting. The logos and characters are overlaid and juxtaposed in these works to create linear dialogues - (snow white interacts with Ren and Stimpy, Batman punches small children, and the heavy metal band Slipknot's logo sits below Subway fast food text).
This is in opposition to the non-linear fashion we normally experience the 'noise' of our 'Ad-vironment': (Snow White interacts with the characters in her specific fairy tale, Batman punches bad guys, and Subway and metal bands certainly don't go together). These subversions attempt to bring to light the oppositions inherent in advertising - that of attraction and repulsion between the smiling face of a corporate mascot and the product and associated social/moral impacts consumerism entails.
Influenced by a recent trip to Mongolia, I spent a lot of time photographing and investigating the way logos and signage are interpreted in what is a bizarre fusion between Capitalism and Russian and Chinese Communism. The mistranslations of partial English phrases mixed with the Russian Cyrillic alphabet on billboards and on the sides of buildings and stores, ranged from disturbing to hilarious. Mongolia being a location that is an emerging capitalist democracy with a Russian communist hangover creates an interesting nexus between two opposing ideologies that from the perspective of someone investigating visual consumerist signifiers is fascinating.
The signage teeters between the banal and the ironic in this context, which in turn forces a re-evaluation of our own local framework of communication via advertising. This observation is that the 'noise' of commercialism is constant on a global scale and that through the re-evaluation of its signifiers we can question our identities and how we identify with each other in this mediated world.
Ben Frost, September 2010