Functional Misrepresentations highlights six artists whose work uses the shared language of objects to discuss how they can act as vectors of memory; both personal and societal. The included artists, Leila Cartier, Randall Cleaver, Billy Colbert, Christina P. Day, Han Wang, and Mallory Weston show how objects can hold onto memories and be reconstructed to tell mythical tales of what was, and what could have been.
Christina P. Day mines the memories of interior places through her linoleum collage series. Using salvaged linoleum flooring, Day painstakingly cuts out the patterns, layering and manipulating them as a way of honoring and preserving them. Also using salvaged materials, Randall Cleaver’s assemblages utilize components that span his lifetime- an old tractor light from a yard sale in Maryland, a children's bicycle rescued from the trash, and bottle caps collected over forty years, all nod to the memories of fleeting moments and places.
Han Wang’s Across the Ocean Project weaves together the memory of culturally significant foods, forms, and patterns with more darkly complex reverberations of cultural appropriation. The blue patterns, caught between the authentic and Delftware reinterpretations, are undeniably beautiful as they revel in their hybridity. Also hybridizing cultures is Billy Colbert. In his work he combines a love of skateboarding in his American youth with the (often) unsung contributors of our human culture.
But what of worlds imagined, mythical, and fantastical? The unusual references Mallory Weston makes with her jewelry- a threatening snake, an oozing wound, a barbed cacti- offer an opportunity for escapism. They allow the wearer to amass and adorn themselves with the tokens that best represent their internal worlds on any given day. Also focusing on escapism through jewelry is Leila Cartier whose large scale collages made up of hand-cut images of jewelry from magazines give us a glimpse into a beauty that obscures hidden dangers, excess, and the disparity between expectations and reality.
Objects we encounter can lose their meaning, becoming merely another thread in our daily tapestries. But in the hands of the artists of Functional Misrepresentations, once familiar objects are elevated to take on new meanings that challenge us to consider the ways in which we take what seems to be true for granted.