August 23, 2007 - Wings Projects Art Space - Presents For the Love of Country
August 23, 2007

Presents For the Love of Country

Justin Richel
For the Love of Country

August 31 – October 31, 2007

Curated by Sarah Schuster
Produced by Victoria Preston

(Fri, Sat, Sun, 14.00 – 18.00 or by appointment)
Private View August 30 2007 19.00 – 21.00

Wings Projects Art Space
Ch. de la Moraine, 36
1162 St. Prex, Switzerland
www.wingsprojects.com

For the Love of Country, the first European solo show of American painter Justin Richel, explores early American history infused with a highly contemporary message.

The Historyseries focuses on early American presidents. Taking his moniker as “Father of the Nation” as a literal option, we follow George Washington as he goes about inseminating the architectural icons of colonial America. Lincoln appears in recognizable format as the face of the $5 bill, but the face has become that of a black man. Referring to Lincoln’s most famous act of abolishing slavery, Richel asks us to acknowledge that some 150 years later, America has yet to elect a black president.

Forgoing the portrayal of well-known figures, the Big Wigs series uses the qualities and symbols of historical portraiture to communicate the subjects’ importance. Acknowledging the role of the wig as an indicator of social and political status in early America, Richel proceeds to mock, and thus deconstruct, this icon, as we see wigs entangled with chairs, nested by birds, or dangerously enflamed. Whatever malady threatens their wigs, these gentleman never break pose, concerned only with the construction of their own image, and place in history.

In the Sweets series, temptation calls us in the form of tornadoes of swirling doughnuts, tsunamis of gumdrops and frostings, and cakes and cookies clamouring to reach the top of a sticky mountain. Even as the child in us prepares to plunge into all this gooey goodness, the adult-self begins to recoil. The term “conspicuous consumption” comes to mind, in a society where success is measured largely by ones relative ability to consume.

Richel’s work forms a rich dialogue. Whilst his ideas are specific, he is careful to leave a generous depth of space for viewers to develop their own interpretations of the work, always offering
fresh new insight.
Note to the editors:

Sarah Schuster is an independent curator working in London.

Wings Projects Art Space is a not-for-profit gallery. It puts on exhibitions by international contemporary artists and invites young curators to produce shows. Visitors are always welcome.

A fully illustrated exhibition guide will be published.

London: For press images and further information, contact Sarah Schuster +44 7881 426 813 or sarahschuster@hotmail.co.uk

Switzerland and rest of the world: For press images and further information, contact Victoria Preston, +41 21 806 3819 or info@wingsprojects.com

Supported by Maine College of Art, Portland, Maine

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