Plastisphere Earthlings (2017)

 

“…more than a substance, plastic is the very idea of its infinite transformation; as its everyday name indicates, it is ubiquity made visible. And it is this, in fact, which makes it a miraculous substance: a miracle is always a sudden transformation of nature. Plastic remains impregnated throughout with this wonder: it is less a thing than the trace of a movement.”

-Roland Barthes, Mythologies

From our toiletries and sex toys to house paint, plastic has become the most prevalent surface layer of our daily lives, since Barthes’ foretelling essay on plastic published only half a century ago.

Most of the paints commercially produced and available to us today are made of plastic/synthetic polymers in terms of the chemical composition of binders and pigments used. This show, Plastisphere Earthlings, is Part II of my on-going project in the teleological exploration of paint, its plastic nature, and its relation to nature. Expanding from and further developing my earlier work based on queer theory and construction of identities through paint-made objects, this new body of work both metaphorically and physically confronts and juxtaposes the synthetic, plastic, and artificial nature of paint with vegetation. Introduction of this “natural” element momentarily disrupts the sterile, colorful, and shiny surface of plastic paint, providing a peculiar sense of wonder and resilience, much like seeing grass growing between cracks in concrete pavement. It shows us how much and how far we have come to change the environment and how we perceive that change, how quickly and easily we accept it or deny it as nature or being natural.

In illuminating this anomalous yet anticipated emergence of the anthropogenic substrate called the Plastisphere, symbols and codes found in road constructions are used to serve as a metaphor for our ever-so quickly changing environment. In the interest of animating and re-imagining plastic as the non-filial queer progeny of our love and desire for a sleeker, cleaner, and a more perfect world, I would like to present these paint-made, blobby, plastic objects as our fellow earthlings, traversing this artifactual earth that we share with other living things.

In the closing statement of her lecture titled, “the Queer Futurity of Plastic”, Heather Davis suggests: “…to acknowledge that the future will be queer, in terms of being completely disruptive, and also in the sense of learning from queer folks, who have never assumed biological reproduction or even continuance as a kind of possibility of hope, that futurity has to be completely reconfigured means finding a way to live with toxicity, extinction, and without the reassurance of an open horizon of the future. Toxicity provides a re-solution to the question of what to do with ambivalence of queerness only to the extent that does not represent a choice. It is already here; it is not a matter of queer political agency so much as to queer political state of the present.”Untitled-1Plastisphere Earthlings, Dakota Gallery, Bellingham, WA

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–paint–blobs–queer–plastic– (2016), MAC Gallery, Wenatchee Valley College, Wenatchee, WA

This show, –paint–blobs–queer–plastic–, is a kind of teleological exploration of paint, its nature, and its relation to nature. Expanding from and further developing my earlier concepts based on queer theory and construction of identities through paint-made objects, this new body of work confronts and juxtaposes the synthetic, plastic, and artificial nature of paint with vegetation. Introduction of this “natural” element momentarily disrupts the sterile, plastic, shiny surface of paint, providing a sense of peculiarity and queerness, much like seeing grass growing between cracks in concrete pavement. It shows us how much and how far we have come to change the environment and how we perceive that change, how quickly and easily we accept it as nature or being natural. Reflecting on these questions and ideas, I would like to present paint and paint-made objects in a more “natural” setting, a transitory moment for viewers to see these paint blobs as “artifacts/artificial objects that resemble nature/nature-made things” into experiencing them as “objects of artifactual earth that exist in nature.”

Small Blubbers Series (2016)

Small Blubber Series is composed of twelve framed anomalies made from controlled mixtures of different latex enamel paints, determined by varied levels of binder-pigment ratio in the paint. Conceptually, it is an exercise of reverse reading/pre-posterous reflection on interpretive process of my visual work. Through this series, I am subconsciously referencing and recollecting the sentiments and sensibilities experienced from Bataille’s writings, namely, Solar Anus. With his “abject” writings and my recurring recollection of “imageries” from the story, a schematic rendering was formed subconsciously and informed in retrospect: “some oblong-shaped cellular thing capable of recalling something celestial, something vaginal, penile, and anal, made out of something that resembles bodily fluids and secretion that churned up quickly.” The materiality of found discarded objects and that of paint, canvas, lace, and etc. accompanied by the merging of domestic craft practice and studio practice in order to arrive at a “hand-made” view of suggestive eroticism of the body and of the flesh, juxtaposed with the “already-ready-made” view of plasticity and immediacy had by post-industrial products. The directness in recognizing the post-industrial products like the plastic frame rarifies the experience of seeing painting, much less a blob of paint, as painting.

Whiskey Ginger Shirley Temple: MFA Thesis Exhibition (05.26.2016 – 06.12.2016)

 

Queer 2.0

Queer (2015)

With a drop of paint (2015): MFA Mid-Thesis Exhibition

With a drop of paint
Philippe’s MFA Mid-Thesis Exhibition
February 9 – 19, 2015
Gallery 231, Randall Hall, Central Washington University, Ellensburg, WA
Exhibition statement: 
It all started with a drop of paint on the floor.
How curiously odd, round, gooey, shiny, blobby, rubbery, and familiar that misplaced droplet looked. It sat very determinedly on the ground along with all the other bumps, cracks, and scratches. It took on its own existential desires and figure-ground relations while humoring my eyes with its queer beauty. The droplet already embodied a sense of other-worldliness I tried to reimagine by pushing paint around. The question of what to paint seemed to matter less after that encounter; it was up to me to give the droplet a structure.
It is not about something particular. 
It is a simulation, weaved in layers and references.
A painting is a paint-made view — an always simulated view that weaves the physical world around and within on the same plane. On it, paint is the figure and the ground, whether it is on a wall, on a canvas, or on its material self. The texture of the paint-made surface then can be perceived as an extension of a physical reality (internal and external) and of an already-simulated space (experience), connecting through a sense of touch. Constructed upon systems of signification, self-referentiality, and differences, paint takes on the form of an interpretative tool in order to give shape to sensible yet invisible thoughts. Ambiguously structured in its form and content, a painting acts as a figure grounded in meaning and also as a ground on which the meaning resides. Affecting and affixing the seeming duality with layers and references, a painting simulates its capacity to not only enhance the perceivable world but also introduce another by generating its own meaning.
In simulation, I zoom into the drop of paint and thread it as a paint-made view in the effort to see how it sees.