Mead Carney is proud to present CANOPY, a selection of New York based artist Shelter Serra’s exciting and thought-provoking body of works.
CANOPY explores themes of mass consumption and our ever-changing relationship to the cult of the product. The artist cleverly takes instantly recognizable objects of our collective memory such as caps, guns, and maps and estranges them, either by coating them in a layer of spray paint, changing an identifiable feature or juxtaposing them to remove them completely out of context. He urges the viewer to reflect on their relationship to branding, materialism, money and status.
By turning the public’s most recognisable objects into neutral items of aesthetic inspection, he stops us from adoring them for their position in the product hierarchy and forces us to view such items in a new light, as ‘things’ that have a deep cultural resonance- politically, socially and economically.
Serra’s work is truly of its time, presenting to us the detritus of the 21st century and how images of money and status are bombarding us from every direction. His fascination for maps and public spaces brings to mind Foucault’s notions of the panopticon, where we are left questioning- who’s watching who?
Serra himself states that the title “canopy refers to an awning or covering that protects, hides or shields visitors or people. Canopy in military is camouflage or tent like material used to assimilate it’s surrounding”.
As the nephew of Richard Serra, it is no wonder that Shelter’s work shows a deep understanding of such a wide range of media from drawing and print to sculpture and video. His work has a real materiality to it, highlighting where the object originated from and how it’s meaning has been mass-produced and packaged. However, by altering the original items, he also prompts us to debate with the pedestalled product, to subvert and challenge it in an attempt to attain an understanding of our love of the excess.