ARTIST STATEMENT

We live in a world inundated by an imagery riot and are left meaningless spectacles: Super Bowl Sunday, staggering millions of “selfies”, surveillance videos, 20 second self-promotion I phone clips, shared weather events, streaming of mass murder shootings, multiplexes, and sweet cat moments. The image-driven tsunami is crashing over us with a new reality all its own. We have made this image-world and now it is re-making us. How does one make new image in a time when complexity has gone crazy and transcend it?

I prefer to work on the margins where new ideas can emerge. I find myself restlessly looking to find new radical forms of narrative. I hate the merely decorative, the superficial, the obvious pandering to an audience. My subjects are diverse including American culture, portraiture, landscape, dreams, essay, poems, sacred art, and the interplay of text and image, and experiments about the nature of consciousness and the evolution of visual language. I take delight in work that sits in in a kind of purgatory between story and poem, essay, formalism and avant-garde, cinematic painting and cine-opera. I want to make the viewer nervous and face in some indirect expansive way the current real conditions of the world. I sometimes utilize appropriated imagery from advertising, historical archival, or naive You Tube videos (the powerful depersonalized “trash” imagery of the world) and often contrast it with sophisticated cinematography, calling into question notions of authorship and technical mastery. Sometimes, the work demonstrates little interest in completeness insisting on its imperfections to bond the art to the audience.  I want the work to feel inevitable and at the same time impossible. I want the viewer to look at the work as both a final product and as something emerging, seemingly a contradiction. I reject the absolute and embrace indeterminacy.

A great beginning point for me is finding provocative “enabling constraints” and giving myself over to the chaos that allow for unexpected new forms emerging from the initial idea. New technologies offer the possibility to creatively rework imagery in many new ways.  My desire to produce a work of visual inventiveness entirely made up of images that are so elaborately and personally fashioned that they seem handmade, re-worked fractured time playing with the hierarchical fetishism of image quality. The transformations liberate the material from its source and make them radically my own creation. I want the images and text edited together so boldly and so surprisingly, as to suggest that the work is meant to be used, contemplated and pondered, privately and slowly, bit by bit, like a book or a painting to be revisited many times.

                                                                        - Richard Kroehling