The Artist - Ryan Daniel Cox
My paintings are largely influenced by product packaging and our culture's obsessions with superficial appearances. I want the viewer to observe, objectively, the reasons that they are attracted to a product, and why they take it home. I want to discuss our nation's concept of value, and whether it is more affected by quality or beauty.
Which is the better buy: a product that is contemporarily styled, but poorly crafted, or a well made product that will last twice as long, yet is not as aesthetically pleasing? I am interested in the fact that if our nation did not over-consume our economy would crumble. This is an issue that goes to the roots of our culture, and every American is affected by it, whether they participate in it or not.
When I paint I incorporate techniques that directly relate to product advertisement and commercial art. I use different surface treatments like thick imposto paint application to give the eye something to explore, something tactile. I use many glaze layers over garish and gaudy colors to mock the luminous clear coats and disposability of plastic packaging. The forms are outlined in black paint and India ink, iconifying and objectifying the subject matter. They are also surrounded by blank, bright backgrounds with very little detail, juxtaposing volume and flatness. When the viewer looks at my work, I want to appeal to the childish consumer in them. As if they were a kid in a candy store, searching for the right image, wherein the quality of content within is certainly assured by its compelling wrapper. My work is paradoxical in that it deploys the formal devices of commercial art and pop culture yet sells nothing by my own personal point of view, in the tradition of Warhol, Kruger, and Lichtenstein.
Is a product undeniably equal in value to each person? Or, do individual circumstances, needs and limitations alter the object's value on a case by case basis? I want to ask the viewer to ask themselves "what is value".