American Consumption


These two pieces illustrate the ideas of American consumerism before and after “consumption”. Altogether, the work uses bold interacting primary colors, lines, and shapes encapsulated by a sandwich-like structure. The use of a wide array of mixed media materials such as oil sticks, acrylic, charcoal, red yarn, and clippings from a magazine were used to accentuate the texture and add depth, dimension, and liveliness to the pieces. The usage of the dripping effect heightens the mood of turmoil suggestive within the deteriorating aspect within the concepts. The use of whimsical colors and literal illustration serves to satirize contemporary Americans values.

The Heart of the American Dream

|| Oil Stick, Collage, and Acrylic on Paper II 7' X 5'|| 2015 ||

The second piece depicts an abstract illustration of large clocks slowly morphing into one large clog in the artery surrounding a giant human heart shaped money bag. Money flows from the middle broken clock and swirl around the heart, causing more visual chaos. The iconic American depictions of the woman crying taken from Lichtenstein’s pieces are drawn together and flow down the metaphorical slide of the money bag, along with the iconic American figure of the fat Pillsbury doughboy holding a dollar sign.  Inspired by a famous quote by the Dalai Lama about the endless pursuit of wealth due to the misrepresentation of money as happiness, the American dream turns into a vicious and disappointing cycle where lives are spent in pursuit of chasing material items, which not only lead to disappointment but to an eventual clogging of a deteriorated heart caused by an overconsumption of wealth.

The Feast of Fools

|| Oil stick, Collage, and Acrylic on Paper II 7' X 5'|| 2015 ||

A large hamburger bun formed by stripes from the American flag dragging into abstraction encapsulate a large conglomeration of cut outs of luxury items such as watches, perfumes, jewelry, and suggestive shapes of tomato, lettuce, bacon, bell peppers, jalapeños, and cheese.  Through that depiction of luxury items mixed with pieces of an overloaded hamburger, and the effect of sensory overload by the scale of this piece itself, the mood of overabundance is expressed.  The rather intact depiction of the American flag and the Olympic symbol in the upper half of the piece slowly deteriorate into painted red and white stripes, the gradual abstraction of food items from the upper portion and into the bottom of the piece, and the red yarn gradually unwinding serves as a metaphor for the deterioration of the higher ideals of America due as an affect of the greediness and gluttony of consumption within contemporary American society.

Together The Effect Of The Large Scale Along With The Multiple Moments Of Confusing Colorful Interaction Of Abstracted And Literal Elements Of These Pieces Force The Viewer To Continually Decipher And Thus Engage And Absorb The Viewer Into A State Of Mental Turmoil Perhaps As Lost And Convoluted As The Pursuit Of Wealth And Material Items Themselves. 

ArtAnn McFerranArtComment