AMERICA

Upperplayground News

AMERICAN HISTORY BY MATTHEW CRAVEN

by Ariadna Zierold

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Matthew Craven challenges the sweeping narratives of American history textbooks, appropriating images of historical figures and sites and defacing or reconfiguring them within new aesthetic compositions. With his surreal mash-ups of historical references composed on antiquated paper, Craven creates his own pared-down symbols and mythologies. In combinations of illustration, collage, and painting, a march of tribal chieftains, Masonic leaders, and American generals and presidents appears in his images, their faces blotted out or colonized by Craven’s trademark geometric patterns.

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Many of Craven’s images are ambiguous, resisting cohesive narratives or easy interpretation; the artist has said that his compositions are not dictated by any political agenda but are based solely on aesthetic consideration.

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THE WORK OF MASAMI TERAOKA

by Ariadna Zierold

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Los Angeles based Masami Teraoka‘s early work consisted primarily of watercolor paintings and prints that mimicked the flat, bold qualities of ukiyo-e woodblock prints. These paintings, done after his arrival in the United States, often featured the collision of the two cultures. Series such as McDonald’s Hamburgers Invading Japan and 31 Flavors Invading Japan characterize themes in the work in this time period. These pieces blended reality with fantasy, humor with commentary, history with the present.

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He has abandoned this style in favor of Western European religious iconography, in tune with his cultural and political critique of contemporary culture, particularly its confessional quality in America society. Teraoka’s work has been reviewed, collected and exhibited throughout the United States and abroad.

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