Carlos Rosales-Silva knows what he's doing. He's making art obviously, but in his art he's leveling the culture by asserting that
...an academic essay has the same weight as an exploitation film as the comments on a youtube video...at least in the way he employs these cultural artifacts in his art. He says so in his artist statement. It's a post-modern tendency that celebrates the non-traditional (which is great) but denies and deprives those subjects and us of the intellectual rigor that both it and we deserve.
Carlos Rosales-Silva, Zig Zag, OSB, hardware, digital prints, dimensions variable, 2011
Carlos Rosales-Silva, Zig Zag (detail), OSB, hardware, digital prints, dimensions variable, 2011
But does this practice criticize American culture or just inadvertently further it. America appropriates practices and artifacts from other cultures, strips them of their original social and cultural significance, and then promotes the hollow shell. Take the cocoa leaf, bindis, hemp, henna tattoos, and pop music rooted in the African diaspora.
Small "d" democratization of tricksters like Rosales-Silva comes with its own dangers. It risks becoming so all inclusive, so broad and wide that it encompasses everything, which leaves it with nothing. It risks being taken seriously and silly at the same time so that I can quip "if you're going to say nothing, why not say it with dolphins and rainbows" with some impunity. Coupled with his impressive formalist skills, Rosales-Silva's work can be quite devastating, witty, and economically beneficial (as in the marijuana leaf breast mash-up, which is perfect for a tattoo or t-shirt).
|My next alcohol inspired tattoo -- Carlos Rosales-Silva, Good Times Ahead, Acrylic on Paper, 22x30”, 2011|