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Travis Rice

Phoenix, AZ

I am interested in updating the history of modernism through borrowing from and breathing new life into all the fodder that modernism has been built upon all the while challenging its austerity or what Ad Reinhardt coined as “pure art”. The stripe, the grid, the drip, the run, the splatter, action painting, hard edge, geometric, and pop all serve as contemporary dialogues long left on the derelict heap of modernism and post modernism waiting to be exploited and reinterpreted. Recently, I have reached deep into the kitsch abyss and pulled landscape painting out as a generator for current work, but not just any landscape, the sensational terra firma of the southwest; a region overly romanticized through painting and used as propaganda to promote 19th-century manifest destiny. Wandering between painting, drawing, and sculpture I investigate various motifs inspired by the southwestern landscape; the butte, the mesa, and the plateau, incorporating media that test codes of taste through finish, color and application. Also, through the incorporation of digital 3D modeling I purposely create a disconnect from the potential romanticism of the subject matter as I reduce the forms down to pure data or byproducts of algorithm culture. This initial digital process is hinted at by allowing the forms to rupture, fracture, glitch, and pixilate, but the analog translation is meant to always bring the work back to being a primitive human process. It is here at this juncture, caught between the threshold of moving forward and moving backward at the same time, that the work rests. A balancing act between digital vs. analog, highbrow vs. lowbrow, and austerity vs. indulgence; a lexicon inspired by the landscape, built from borrowed modernist fodder, but unique to me as an artist.
Wescover creator since 2019

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