Why is when, and now is why, and we will ALWAYS want, AND all is “What the holy fuck!?”
Never has this been an obstacle for lucid critical or crucial thought for whom the dummbbells toll in the skies of material wantonness. Q: How did we even get here?
The needs, creeds and greeds of all the wants are assembled in this body of work. Faux luxury facilitated by dead corporate machines like Sears, JC Penny’s and Montgomery Wards (fast forward> AMAZON!!!) with 1200 page catalogs are a good place to begin. Paper bricks printed on glossy
non-archival paper layered to the heavens for empire building. If aliens from outer space were to visit us right now (and PLEASE help us now!), many of their questions could be answered in these consumer bibles.
By the process of cultural anthropology, many of these cheap consumer goods have been given a new life, again to adorn the walls and tables of mainstream America. Core samples have been drilled in these non-fine art things and born again from merely rummaging through the grave yards of consumable "goods"
re-swapped for more $$ in the stores of thrift and performing fleas. The artist has found inspiration in the cheap stuff of yester-year, thusly re-arting the stuff that was mass-produced to give the façade of style and class. So hurry! We’re running out of stuff fast!
The white middle/upper/other classes examined have been recorded in both the good and bad books of history, thusly flushed out the birth canals of the unimaginative landfills (progress). Facsimiles with objective meanings defy our understanding in the rubble now, yet provide proof-positive of who we were and mostly still want to be. So uselessly useful in their time now they become "utilitarian fine art" again for their utilitarian purpose in the third place. Artistic alchemical license has freely given the artist a full-on-all-out-all-American stratagem with these junk store findings. America in its most peculiar vintage hour… American at its final artistic process…
So for now, we look to the past for where we went wrong, right and/or left. Based on the hunting and gathering of antiquated pictorial evidence, allegorical signifiers, aggressive branding, and personal insider insights, observable clues are given in an absurdist, unflinching and often lowbrow way for your viewing entertainment.
EXHIBITION PROJECT STATEMENT
Using reclaimed vintage thrift store objects, this exhibition addresses an historical American visual analysis of who we were, who we are and what we mostly still want to be. We currently live in very interesting times, and this work reflects that in an unflinching, absurdist and often low brow way. I am looking back at material culture for inspiration and fully reacting to what is currently going on in America socio-politically and trying to connect some of the dots. Often I am commenting on whether anything has really changed. This exhibition mainly examines the impacts of: 1. Middle/upper class consumerism, 2. Low-cost mass production, 3. Religious intolerance, 4. Unmonitored capitalistic greed, 5. Climate concerns, 6. Patriarchal power systems and 7. White American hierarchies. These works were made with the intentions to be daring, darkly humorous and to not pull any punches regarding these topics. They are intentionally made to enlighten and entertain, but also to spark conversation. While creating these works I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. I want the viewer to experience the same. It is too easy to throw up your hands and say, “What can I do about it?” This is my contribution. This exhibition is not intended to be didactic. I have been as guilty as the next white heterosexual man in swallowing up and spitting out the surplus of the world over my lifetime. For now, the intention is for viewers to reflect and ask, “What side of history do I want to be on?” Perhaps the ultimate point is that humans still have a long way to go and are basically still irresponsible shit-flinging monkeys (but with money).
In combination with traditional 2D materials and collage techniques (and minimal digital imaging), the objects used to construct this exhibition are mostly large romantic cardboard print paintings, shadow box clocks, unlistenable LP records and found objects. The process of cultural anthropology (picking through thrift stores) is conducted one or two times a week throughout Oklahoma and anywhere I happen to find junk stores outside of my state. Inspired by my early punk rock days, I have been junking most of my life out of necessity and for curiosity. These stores are like museums where affordable consumer goods go to die and hopefully be reborn. This process is critical to inspiring my forms, and it’s very informative regarding our culture. When I find something that piques my curiosity, I “re-art” the object and give it a new life that is informed by both the past and present. The antiquated appearance in each work is crucial, as each vintage object comes with a ready-made veneer of age. It signifies American consumer history and points directly to our current relationship to the topics I mentioned above.
I currently have over 130 works ready for display and I am constantly producing more. Examples submitted to you are a firm replica of what I would exhibit in your gallery space. The works are a traditional mix of two- and three-dimensional forms (with a few falling in between those dimensions). Basic wall hanging materials, pedestals and tables are all that is needed to present this exhibition.
I have taken the nom de plume Leon Richmond –created from my cat’s name and my middle name- for conceptual as well as tongue in cheek reasons. My reason for this is to create a mythology of this person who has no history other than a website and an exhibition record. The artist becomes an object themselves at openings, there to perform a role and sell themselves as much as the art work. This exhibition was created to question our love affair with objects, not the artist. I also wanted to remove all ego and personal pretensions and step out of myself to have a detachment as the “The Artist.” On my website I have penned a background for Leon Richmond loosely based on my personal history. To enhance the myth, I prefer to have all press for any of my
exhibitions go solely to Leon Richmond with no mention of Robert Dohrmann. I have additionally considered having another person attend openings as Leon Richmond. If your gallery is uncomfortable with these pseudonym concepts, of course I will be happy to attend the opening and be “The Artist.”
If selected for an exhibition, I would be more than happy to give a presentation and interact with your gallery viewers and board members. I am also interested in community involvement and would be happy to do a workshop, participate in critiques or panel discussions. I am willing to give back to your organization and city in anyway you think I could be a good fit.