Monday, March 10, 2014

Adam Mysock

In Their Own Image, 2014.

On the Bright Side, 2013.

All You Want To See, 2014.

Only One Prepared for the Leak, 2013.

Richard Simmons Refusing to Participate in Our Current Cynicism (Detail 1), 2011.

New Orleans'-based painter Adam Mysock was one of my favorite artists at this year's VOLTA NY show. Mysock considers himself to be a "revisionist history painter," using historical imagery as a method of rationalizing our present circumstances. Which makes for a whole lot of beautifully painted, fascinating works featuring robots, people with moons and boats where their heads should be, presidents and explorers in strange lands, and even Richard Simmons. He explains: 
As a painter, I’m preoccupied by the undeniable role that the image plays in creating this acceptance of the fictional.  A painting has the authority to make the intangible concrete, and a series of them has the ability to authenticate a fabrication in our collective memory. 

When I begin a piece, I typically start with preexisting images, artifacts from this collective remembrance.  I look for images that shape my pictorial consciousness, that are hard to question because when I first saw them they were presented as the truth.   They have to capture my imagination and they have to feel largely descriptive of a greater story.  From them, I’m given my task – I have to “disrepair” them.  I have to consolidate an earlier world of historical and cultural visual-fact with an evolving understanding of subtlety and gradation.  I find that the discrepancies I discover between the absolute and the nuanced inspire me most.

The resultant work is largely about storytelling, the ownership and authorship of our culture’s visual narratives, and the parallels between those tales.  It’s meant to challenge the truth of “source” and the source of truth.  After all, as Franz Kafka once wrote, It is hard to tell the truth, for although there 'is' one, it is alive and constantly changes its face.  
See more of Mysock's work on his website, as well as through the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery.

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