playground time: angela jann

I’m trying to have multiple things happening at once: fore ground, background, reference and non-referential, playing with optics. It’s all optics, like how people can’t not stare at a fire or how people can’t not stare at their phones, it’s the moth-to-a-flame quality about us.

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The light boxes are like paintings or frozen computer screens, but there’s also the element of the collage through the visuals, many found on the Internet, combined with the touch of Microsoft paint. A random phrase pops in my head, and so I Google that, and with the flood of images populated from that phrase I go down the rabbit hole. It’s bringing these things together and then trying to laugh. Google image search is also exploring how people explore the Internet.

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This is my favorite conspiracist: this guy on YouTube has lecture and talks where he proclaims, “I was a child time traveler because my dad created a time machine from Tesla papers.” He would go time travel to visit George Washington and give him advice. He was in a classroom of time travelers and one was Barack Obama and the teacher declared that there was a president in the midst and he knew it was Obama. So, I love this idea of time-travelling Barack Obama, like teenage Obama. It’s all on YouTube; just Google like, “time-travel,” “teen,” “Barack Obama,” it’ll show up.

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It’s fun to look at the fire, it’s fun to look at neon, it’s fun to look at your phone, it’s fun to look at Calders, it’s fun to look at David Hockney and Ai Wei Wei.

The light boxes happened when I decided to go toward “pretty” and toward “fun,” rather than resist these as I was taught. Painting and the theories about the application of paint teaches you seriousness and intelligence. It was the 60s baby boomer generation proving the intelligence of painting and our generation has to rebel against them. I dropped abstraction and that’s when playground time started.

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angela jann in conversation with marisa espe