Brian Ireson

Artist Statement

Sitting, typing this now, to you the reader, I am whoever I tell you I am! With the aid of technology, our ability to hide or expose ourselves continues expanding to new heights. As humanity develops new technologies that support systems designed to enhance and/or accelerate communication, such as radio, TV and, the internet, our attention span or ability to focus decreases leaving less time for the dissemination of information. Now keeping that in mind, I must quickly tell you whom I am.

Working today as an artist, I feel that the viewer must be able to grasp the general concept of a work quickly and, that the work must leave an impression that will be remembered, in a manner similar to mass media advertising. To this end, I utilize objects commonly found in contemporary North American culture as referential points within my work. These points are there to reinforce that fact I am the product of the North American culture and as such how this fact has shaped my world-view, this is from where and how I react to the world around me. All people are enculturated in order to become functioning members of the society in which they are born into, our perceptions are wrought by these processes of enculturation.

I also purposely forgo being overly subtle in my work choosing instead to present works that appear direct but upon closer scrutiny reveal layers of meaning. Another element that I often incorporate is humor, in the form of puns or other word play, which has relation to the work. I feel that this helps to disarm and engage the audience. People are more receptive when they are laughing and enjoying themselves. These modes of communication are present throughout the body of my work.

In the process of critiquing the experience of living in this society, I feel that it is necessary to incorporate objects or symbols common to popular culture. I create objects designed to be easily recognizable in an attempt to communicate with the audience. I feel that a high level of craftsmanship is vital in attaining a well-balanced aesthetic. Now, considering how intertwined technology and popular culture have become, it is necessary to integrate modern technologies within my artistic practices in order to continue communicating with an ever-broadening audience.

Themes that are recurrent through my work include issues of cultural identity and enculturation. As the world continues to shrink due to the effects modern communications networks, economic trade and, high speed travel it is increasingly important to be aware of the world outside our borders. As the media expands and becomes more specialized to crater to audiences looking for specific information provided by any given channel, one has to examine what information is presented. With the format that exists in media networks the world over, based on the transmission of information in brief time frames of 30 seconds to 15 minuets. Within those few moments all pertinent and desirable information is conveyed to the viewer, these time frames have become standardized means for us to take in information. It is necessary to distill the information so that it is easily digested and retained by those receiving the information. What this means to contemporary society is, only information that works to maintain the status quo and the hierarchical power structures of the existing social orders is dessiminated. The media has become the manner in which populations are controlled and enculturated, within the West it is a force to rival the power structure of organized religion. As global networks are evolving they are challenging preexisting social hierarchies putting the world at a point of change, a social flash point.

I am examining this social situation from the relatively safe vantage point within Western culture; by safe I mean that it is within the West that this new social structure is being generated. How do we see the world? And how did this social order evolve to its present state of world dominance? What are the consequences of social change and are their manifestations in our surroundings? I am interested in the trappings of this culture because they are what I know in context and these can be imbued with information based on the commonality of social understanding and recognition of the objects I utilize. The notion of “mask” as being the vehicle by which we present ourselves to the world holds a wealth of room for investigation. Within older cultures the wearer of a mask in ritual settings would become the embodiment of the deity the mask represented, today we could ascribe the same type of reaction to the clothes that we wear in almost any given situation. That is not to say that we only use apparel to create identities, there are a host of other means by which we present ourselves; hair style, mannerism, posture, vocally, wealth, tanning, etc. are a few other means at our disposal within the context of our culture. We use all of these mechanisms to work to create a sense of who we are to those around us, on the global scale it is the media that presents Western values systems to the outside world.

One look around and it is obvious that there is room for subverting the images that bombard us daily. The baseball bat when considered outside of its socially acceptable role representing notions of good sportsmanship and teamwork reveals an alternate understanding, one of violence and weapon. In presenting this object in differing historical and/or material contexts invites the viewer to reconsider the validity of the objects current cultural understanding and allows for alternate interpretations.

I am, an artist who; uses a mode of communication that is derived from the language of popular culture, exhibits a sense of humor and, also values craftsmanship. I am interested in combing traditional sculptural mediums with modern technology to continue exploring my understanding of modern society.