“The Americans, we are convincingly told, are the most materialistic of peoples, and on the other hand, they are the most idealistic, the most revolutionary, and conversely, the most conservative; the most rampantly individualistic and simultaneously, the most gregarious and herd-like; the most irreverent toward their elders, contrariwise, the most abject worshipers of ‘Mom.’ They have an unbridled admiration of everything big, from bulldozers to bosoms; and they are in love with everything diminutive, from the ‘small hotel’ in the song to the ‘little women’ in the kitchen”
– John Kouwenhoven, What’s “American” about America?
Desire and modesty in American culture live in an uneasy and sometimes nonsensical, coexistence. Through campy, kitsch-inspired images stemming from my Midwest background, I explore the desires, expectations, and stereotypes of what it means to be a strong-willed and occasionally arrogant, American.
It is my belief that most of what we think, say, do and experience comes from desire. Consciously or not, these desires are constantly shifting and re-defining our sense of who we are as individuals. We want iPhones, greasy burgers, sexual partners and high-ranking jobs because we ultimately think that these things and experiences are directly linked to happiness.
I deconstruct and rearrange a selection of mundane images inspired iconic American advertising and imagery and use these images as a way of exploring how visual culture shapes and reflects our own views and values. Additionally, I am interested in how these projected values influence national identity and our place within it.
This exhibition took place at Rhetorical Galleries in Phoenix, Arizona in July 2016.