Dutiful Citizen by Steve Banks

Thursday, May 2, 2013-Saturday, June 15, 2013

Artist Statement

My artwork is about finding meaningful identity and individuality within popular culture. I strive to make energetic images that explore our relationships and interactions with what is precious, beautiful, necessary, serious, sensual, and non-sensical, through juxtapositions of disparate materials, clashing iconography, pungent color schemes, contrasting textures, scale, and simplicity versus clutter.

My image-making process is fueled by curiosity regarding the process of partial cultural assimilation. These studio works are rooted in the quest for the individual within an apathetic culture of homogeneity, and pre-packaged identity. This search for individuality often turns into commentaries about how we miraculously form meaningful interpersonal connections and relationships while our souls seem to bob haplessly on an isolating sea of cultural white noise.

With the visual feel of an erratic archeological dig into pop culture, these recent painted constructions are composites of several layers of imagery which reference accumulated cultural “deposits.” These “deposits” are rife with images and motifs “appropriated” from antiquity, sub-Saharan Africa, pre-Columbian cultures of Central and South America, as well as Folk artists, German Expressionists, old notebook doodles, and childish bathroom graffiti. All of which are contrasted with more prominent surface layers of machine gears, fast foods, cityscapes, “power” ties, and impulse buys.