Richard Medina: Sex Land Power

Sunday, November 20, 2016
4:00 PM 7:00 PM

My work takes the form of paintings, sculptures, performances, and videos. In my practice I invest myself in rigid existing structures and use them to generate new work. I have a fascination with the American Southwest as a cultural, historical, geographical, and topographical site. In particular, I am drawn to artwork that deals with the iconography of the West, and speaks to the problematic nature of a space practically designed for hyper-masculine roles and rituals. I find Westerns interesting for this very reason. Films that exist in a vacuum of tropes and archetypes that are purely fictional but are nonetheless trapped inside a historical time period often burrow deeper into their genre instead of attempting to transcend their boundaries, creating and recreating settings and situations. I am also interested in the concept of landscape as it relates to the American Southwest. I approach landscapes through the lens of a road trip: the environment outside the car window is constantly in flux, providing a never-ending, hyperactive vista. I try to avoid sitting with a landscape scene, as one would with a traditional landscape painting, and instead try to embody the ever-evolving panorama of the view outside a car window. The body can also be seen as a type of landscape, with discharge of fluids being connected to environmental systems, such as earthquakes, landslides, and volcanic activity. The stages of a sexual encounter can be read as geological layers of sediment and bodies as topographies. Material-wise, polyurethane foam is an important material to me because it has the ability to create facsimiles of the geographies of the body and the landmasses of the American South. I am also attracted to polyurethane foam for its starkly artificial qualities. When color is added, the polyurethane foam references the masculine, aggressive aesthetic of Abstract Expressionism. Additionally, the process of spraying the foam not only is reminiscent of ejaculation, but harkens back to the earliest form of painting, when early humans would blow pigment onto cave walls. By using these rigid frameworks as a springboard for new work, I am able to create a density of historical and cultural contexts in which my work is able to exist. —Richard Medina

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