Patrick Gantert

Student Artist-in-Residence 2007-08
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Artist Statement

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                             Untitled 1
                   Institutional Gesturing


My work asserts itself in a number of ways ranging from the emptiness and fullness of the materials appropriated (processed construction grade wood, industrial Styrofoam, cardboard, duct tape, tarps, chairs, etc.) to the purposeful ambiguous mystery, which opens up the realm of confusion and questioning. While the above-mentioned material is often used to reference construction, interiors and exteriors, and fields, it relies heavily on context to achieve a meaning.

In confronting the theme of the relationship between art and technology, I am more interested in the dissonance in this relationship than I am the connection. Our surroundings, in addition to the art world, are becoming increasingly digitized. Much of what is occurring in the context of art and society has been relegated to a technological and digital arena. Everything has been sped up, manipulated, pixilated, processed and compressed. While this technology is certainly important, I see it as something that warrants a kind of cautious skepticism and consequent series of questions rather than outright acceptance. That said, I believe that the work I have created for the Bud and Betty Micheels Artist in Residence exhibition stands in the space not as a reflection of technology in art or the relationship between the two, but rather a direct refusal and byproduct of the post modern technological condition. I derive influence for artmaking from the technological consequences common to contemporary society, such as urban decay, discarded objects, and repetitive image and signage. In doing so, I find connections to classical trends and traditions in art practice ranging from symbolism in painting (ladders, doors, containers) to minimalist aesthetics and placement of objects (leaning objects against walls, industrialized fitting, essential and humble materials).

Furthermore, the work on display speaks about a kind of exhaustion and a disaffection conditioned by the aforementioned societal occurrences. The objects and sculptures I have created from facets of the everyday are exhausted and apprehensive, at odds with each other and seemingly cowering away from something. The intent is for the viewer to be placed in an awkward area of tension upon entering the gallery space, so as to mimic the kind of displacement that can happen in a rapidly advancing culture.

Finally, my sculptural work can be interpreted through the classical languages of painting and drawing. The material I use is partially selected based on form, color, connotation, and functionality. In this way, my selection process mimics that of an abstract painter in that the non-objectivity of the included elements remains provocatively open ended and ambiguous. While my installations and assemblages associate closely with a painterly language, they refuse any definite classification and are intended to show their influences and provoke questioning rather than suggesting a concrete answer to a defined problem.