Refuge: New Work by Peter Gronquist at the Joseph Gross Gallery
Gronquist’s work has always eschewed easy interpretation–the artist is reticent to pick any one sentiment or statement that might easily summarize his art practice. He takes great pains to produce the Neo Baroque high-gloss and gold-gilded finishes found in his signature animal taxidermy sculptures, where he appropriates ultra-masculine imagery creating a juxtaposition of the innocent and the aggressor. Up to 30 hours may go into sanding the finish on an assault weapon antler, and Gronquist employs master gold platers to complete the almost alchemical transformation of adhering pure gold accents, perfecting a process of binding gold and silver to non-metal surfaces.
These objects act as a parody of the role that luxury goods play in what Gronquist views as “hyper American” culture. Designer labels, outrageous bling, and rampant conspicuous consumption point to the consumerism that dominated pre-recession American culture, and the transgression for which we are now atoning amidst the global economic collapse. His use of guns also relates to this “hyper Americanism” and works as a double edge; part empowering, part destructive, it’s a timely criticism of gun culture, which is presented as either wholesome and sporting, or malicious and predatory. Gronquist’s exposure of these characteristics of American culture, the simultaneous rejection and embodiment of the consumerism and apathy we have inherited as the American dream, is possibly the most concise possible interpretation for his work.
Opening Reception: June 9th, from 6-8pm