ABOUT THE WORK:
All the novelty of history coalesces in the present moment–as a distillation of that which preceded it. This pastiche, or visual cuing of past narratives, has arrived on a platform unrecognizable to the history it propagates. The internet has transformed the human database into a globally accessible archive of the mediated human experience. Exposed in the wake of this metamorphosis, is the spectrum of affects created by print media. Within this visual canon, represented by what has been saved, edited, refined, and uploaded to this archive, lies an unintentional subversion of the implications of our ideologies. On the internet, all ideas enter the same mosh pit. No sanctity exists. All ideas can be collaged under the same microscope to reveal a complex ordering of language that defines the reality in which we all abide. Artist Kevin Blake utilizes a traditionally beheld painting vernacular as a means of synthesizing this collage with the use of recycled imagery from the collective past. The characters in these paintings are developed from the hard-working, strong, but nevertheless remote-controlled heroes of the post-World War II fringes and subsequently, post-war American idealism; which continues to infiltrate the cumulative psychology. These works look to film noir, pulp fiction, the birth of advertising, etc… as a platform for projecting the viewer into a dialogue about time, and the affect of language on the human operating system from a generational vantage point. In a world in which the wheel of events rolls on so rapidly; in which contradictory information slides by our eyes on effervescent screens; and in which constitutions and dynasties are dissolved in mere moments–the individual has become the sole proprietor and patron of belief. This enormous responsibility, historically ceded to the idols of our tribes, represents an ontological break with previously held notions of the sociological significance of the individual and their potential contribution to progress. This work posits that complexity has become the new ocean in which human beings are learning to navigate, and just like plotting a course using the stars as sign posts, these paintings wield language, in the extents of complexity, to steer the ship.
Kevin Blake is an artist and writer living and working in Chicago, IL. After completing a BFA(2004) in Painting and Drawing and an MA in art education (2011) from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Kevin went on to receive an MFA in visual arts from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University(2014). Kevin’s debut solo exhi-bition opened at The Riverside Art Center in March of 2017 and will be followed by another solo exhibition at the University of Indiana Northwest in November of 2017. Kevin is a contributing writer for Bad at Sports, and has pub-lished numerous catalog essays, a few poems, and an artist book.