"Waller Austin works with childhood's preeminent medium, the crayon, but the uses to which he puts this pigment are anything but childlike. Waller melts, mixes, pours and burnishes his paintings. His aptitude for representational techniques is expansive, as is his gift for mimicry, so the devices of schoolbook illustration are often uncannily attached to compositions and subjects referencing contemporary art; Pop Parody, if you will." – Buzz Spector
Interdisciplinary is, arguably, the most crucial term on contemporary visual art, although even that claim underscores the essence of the word, as it points to the persistent breakdown of definitions of cultural disciplines. Today’s art lexicon now includes the designation “creatives” in places of artist, poet, musician, etc., a further reflection of the fluidity that confronts working artists.
Waller Austin uses the phrase to delineate his own artistic identity, connecting to a strain of installation artists that dates back to the early 20th century.
“All of my art can be summed up as post-conceptual self-portraiture, though it may be difficult for untrained eyes to recognize and/or acknowledge. With a Postmodern attitude, I address challenges of post-colonial times by actively engaging structures of mimicry and hybridity via the appropriation of common themes in contemporary art. I stress that the identity I deliver through art is to be recognized as apocryphal - simultaneously indulgent and self-abasing. Through an interrogation of originality and authenticity, I challenge the viewer to examine their own systems for consideration and interpretation of any prescribed visual language or learned norm.”
“My works incorporate processes of decision making that revolve around play and leisure with a conflation between art history, humor, and mythology. I address an open range of content stemming from an interest in identity, mimicry, and hybridity. As an artist, my goal is to muddy and force a complication of information, and to incite intuitive and inventive thinking within my audience. Elevating the ‘riff,’ I work almost exclusively with ‘readymades’ in terms of image, esthetic, idea, and process. Exploring notions of ownership, I commandeer screenshots of intellectual property and transform defining information into new tangible objects that bare my unique signature.”
“Paint is simply pigment and binder. Artists have the privilege to choose how to further define these two elements. Over the past three years, I have dedicated much of my studio practice to utilizing Crayola crayon as a both paint and sculpture material. The resulting works occupy a place in the art historical cannons of encaustic painting and wax sculpture. They catalyze a nostalgic phenomenon for older audiences and flatten high and low art, providing understandable access to a younger audience.”
There will be a Closing Reception for Waller Austin's current installation at The Tim Faulkner Gallery
Friday, January 26, from 6:00-7:00 pm.
Hometown: Louisville, Kentucky
Education: MFA in interdisciplinary studio arts, Washington University, St. Louis, MO; BFA, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
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