Bombarded by pristine plastic images of this perpetual digital world represents one layer in the greater scheme of human transfigurement. At a distinct period in time, ‘Pop’ represented one possible bridge between the world of the modern and that of the post modern. Still clinging to a sense of irony, remote and perhaps convoluted Pop art expressed a vital component of our contemporary milieu through explorations of mass production, droll repetitions, and consumer products ready to step in and replace any notion of high culture. Ironically enough the representation of ordinary products, stark color schemes, and/or seemingly random subject matter emerged from the artistic need humanity can never seem to ignore for very long…consumption of goods and services transformed into the realm of the symbolic.
The exuberance from celebrating our consumer driven impulses via mass culture resides in ‘Pop.’ This artistic tendency to look forward to the future through the lens of optimism; establishing a seemingly random assortment of cultural products that drive late 20th century capitalism, therefore creating the illusion of social equilibrium. If we start with the generic insignificance of a Campbell soupcan immortalized by Warhol we come to realize, perhaps, that every other ‘good’ has the potential to acquire symbolic stature within this absurd, but relevant framework. In the end relativism becomes an after thought, unless it pertains to everything that has been left out, excluded from the pantheon of products and personalities immortalized by artists, and revered by mass culture.
Symbolic perfection blossoms from the hard lined color blocks used to establish the eternal significance of Marilyn Monroe by Warhol. This sense of symbolic finality after her tragic suicide establishes a seemingly infinite context where life and death no longer matter. This realm of perfection relies on the impact Monroe had on mass culture, exploited by the likes of Andy Warhol and Ken Russell in the film Tommy, whereas the ordinary citizen has little to no ‘symbolic’ significance, just the desire to belong. Craving recognition the masses find solace in social networking while Marilyn Monroe will forever reign as the queen of mystique, the impenetrable illusion at the heart of feminine power created and feared by men.
In the Work of Autumn Azure the portrait exists in a state of grace, not confined to any symbolic pantheon, and far removed from this digital post-modern chaos, where signs and symbols yearn for significance amidst a sea of random movers and shakers ready to sieze popular culture by the throat. Community, or perhaps communal significance still embraces status through the inherent nature of the subject matter; business ownership constitutes position and responsibility, with the ever looming threat of financial chaos dictated by the market place. And yet to others status becomes inconsequential in relation to the more pictorial aspects of facial features captured through the lens of Ms. Azure’s precise gaze. Such ambiguity represents the input that each of us brings to the experience of viewing the work in a space devoted to exploration, rather than a computer screen filled with humanity disfigured.
It is at this moment when our imagination coalesces, creating the relationship to an individual symbolic of everyone and no one, rather than the object of manipulated glamour emerging from the stream of mass culture. Imperfection finally becomes purged from the vicious realm of eternal scrutiny, yet forever immortalized in the moment. Without identity or substantial cultural significance the return to the form and subtle contours of the face becomes the primary focus. This old return to new found humanity rejects the primacy of status firmly planted at the epicenter of cultural significance. Left to our own devices we can explore smooth contours, delicate folds of skin, and finally ponder what lies behind the gaze of every individual frozen in time regardless of the imperative at the heart of our