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Michele Carlson  Oakland, CA

* All images used with permission. Please do not distribute without first contacting the artist.

About Michele

My current projects focus on the dislodging of certain cultural stories, languages, icons, and symbols that are the dominant voice of collective memory and grand historical narratives. I am interested in the moments of intersection where personal memory butts up against collective memory or a grand narrative asks for the memories of a history one cannot actually remember. These are the flickering moments of intersection where collective memory, the narratives of Western history and pop culture fail and begin to collapse. It is within these moments of failure that individuals and communities can find agency in seemingly insignificant acts. Where something as simple as a personal memory is inherently contradictory yet is often a powerful and most immediate act of resistance.

In this current collection of collaged drawings I combine visual language pulled from different narratives of history and pop culture to build an environment that is as much about the dislocation of culture as it is the creation of brand new ones. I have taken historical and contemporary icons, objects, and images, removed and re-situated them from their common context’past is collapsed into present and historical tradition is ‘remixed” into contemporary pop culture and the dark corners of history and memory where contradiction, confusion and ambivalence flourish, are key. Through the process of re-framing, reorganizing, and re-imaging collective memory and grand narratives a space for new stories, histories, and memories to be built is created. I often use symbols such as fabric, pit bulls, or transportation devices as stand-ins for the figure; they are all in some way intensely charged cultural artifacts, symbolic and complex. I rely heavily on the familiarity of this supposed cultural recognition, where many of these symbols are rooted. These spaces are moments that allow one to re-create a personal and collective space’where misrepresentation, or invisibilities in history can in fact contain moments of agency.

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7 reactions displayed


"artist: verbose pics:leave me cold"

"These don't hold my interest for very long. I feel like they lack texture and depth. Or maybe it is the negative space - too much for the drawing to stand up to, especially the second one."

"Simply wonderful! Similiar to Klimt and Schiele, more so to Schiele, whom I LOVE."

"these doodles are on a whole ne level. Good job."

"These immediately caught my interest and I wished I could see them larger, filling up the whole screen! The variety of patterns and shapes is wonderful and with no reliance on color shows real artistry. I find your description a bit too redolent of "art speak" - perhaps you could simplify it a bit. But thanks for a great way to begin my day as I start up my computer!"

"Cute and humorous. Lotsa fun."

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