Heros & Zeros – Justin Angelos

Before I say anything, I have to admit; I’m not a fan of collage. It isn’t that I don’t think found images can be art, even high art. I suspect it has to do with my position on the autism spectrum.

Texture is just one of those areas where I am extremely picky. Once you start glueing three-dimensional objects to a canvas or board, you’ve usually lost me.

That’s why I was pleasantly surprised to find that Justin Angelos’ show, Heros and Zeros at Stripe Men, won me over.

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His work is exactly the kind of gaudy, bumpy, haphazard art that gives me the willies, but after sitting with the work for a few minutes, soaking it all in, the density of the symbolism, craft, and intention proved to be a very rewarding experience.

The centerpiece of the show, “Doppelganger”, was where I focused most of my attention. Those who know me well, know that I try to challenge myself to like everything. If somebody likes it enough to display it, I will try to tap into that same stream of optimism. Given my penchant for hating on collage and assemblage, this was a very intentional approach.

dsc_0013“Doppelganger” is, to put it bluntly, gaudy as hell. What appears to be collaged elements, found objects and epoxy on board collide in a sparkling, big bang of celebrity and nostalgia. What settles in over time is the balance of the content, the rhythm and pattern.

Are the celebrities pictured meant to be literal, or represent something figurative? Angelos’ trademark duo-toned lines seem to imply something more cosmic than just a literal connecting of the celebrity dots. Maybe I’m just reading into things, but it almost looks like Angelos has tried to map the collective consciousness of People Magazine readers in America over the last 20 years. Whatever his intention may be, this particular work of art stands out for its scale and precission.

dsc_0009A few of the smaller pieces stood out to me as well. “John” portrays JFK as a cosmic head, with the collective consciousness of the Miss America pageant contestants trained on him. The bit of aerosol paint spatter brings a sense of depth to this piece that really places it in a surreal setting.

But it was “Calipep” that really brought the whole ‘collective conscious’ theme home for me. The tangle of thoughts above the jocks’, including cars, patterns and eyes, creating a galaxy of testosterone that exudes young-male energy.

dsc_0019Not only is Justin’s art immediately visually arresting, but it has a complexity that encourages contemplation beyond the innitial look. Combine that with the excellent price-point, and you have a great place to start collecting art for your home, office or friends.

 

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