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“How do we measure the difference between tat and treasure and isn’t that what we are doing with every display of objects that we encounter? At what point does dismissal become desire, junk become gems? As commodified art has now joined gold as a reliable asset in times of international economic instability, Papasian’s search for how we measure lasting value is particularly apt.”(1)
My practice discusses this notion of ‘lasting value’ by juxtaposing handcrafted bronze and ceramic objects with inexpensive manufactured items, creating a bricolage constructed to fit an exhibition space. The objects in my installations contradict and complement simultaneously; mingling elements of the real and the artificial with the valued and disposable, jarring the organic and the synthetic until it may not be possible to see what is handcrafted and what is not. I uses this visual disconnect to examine the intricate and fluctuating relationships between objects, pleasure, value and consumerism. My work reflects and anticipates our current civilization just as it shares in it.
Canyon of Truths and Illusions, wooden gold mining trays filled with a sensory overload of golden objects, looks at the perpetual repetitive quest for opportunity that continues past the time of the gold rush to the present day, transcending time.
The process of making is crucial in my practice, using materials that are used to handcraft or manufacture beautiful items that give pleasure, some of which may last and others which have a throwaway nature. I employ reflective surfaces to evoke the glossiness in modern urban culture and inconsistencies in the value of materials. The installations comprise high and low sculptural materials and include objects that have finishes that imitate gold or bronze but are actually plastic, wood or paper. By presenting a shiny excess of artificiality and luxury, I investigate what I see as a closing gap between high and low culture and ‘our desire for spectacle’.
‘Papasian’s piece plays to our desire for spectacle, but makes us question how worth and depth operate amid the constant proliferation of things, surfaces and interfaces that shape the way we live.’ (1)
(1) Smyth, Cherry, ‘Shine and Seem’, on the work, ‘Canyons of Truths and Illusions’ by Cheryl Papasian, November 2013