THE ART OF CHRIS COSNOWSKI
BUBBLICIOUSMUYBRIDGE RODEO (SPECIES SWITCHAROO)CHEERLEADERSKNIEVELCOPBASEBALL
AMERICAN METAL
Trophies play a major role in American life. Capitalism is essentially rooted in the idea of winning.Trophies are the carrot leading the horse, a symbol of hope and desire for the ninety-nine percent. These paintings envision our trophy-world – shiny and superficial. The metal, however, is an illusion, spray-plated plastic, no real weight - an apt metaphor for a country that no longer manufactures anything. All of these figures are proudly standing on a marble base - symbolic of our institutional traditions, rooted somewhere in an ancient classicism. In reality, these trinkets are no more than six inches high. The paintings enlarge the figures not to human size, but to half human-size as if they are desperately trying to assert their importance. The various figures are used to represent different aspects of our society. The rodeo trophies illustrate our romanticized past – the wild west in all its rugged testosterone-soaked glory. The cheerleaders embody our obsession with sports and its accompanying misogyny. The motorcross statuette continues the sports metaphor and also typifies our love of speed, daredevils and gasoline. The bodybuilder pokes fun at the prevailing image we have of our country as mighty and heroic as well as demonstrating our preoccupation with physical beauty. Finally, the policeman depicts the country’s need for excessive security just to live “freely” today. America is ostensibly a meritocracy, and I think we can all agree that hard work, talent, creativity and integrity should be rewarded. American exceptionalism, however, seems to have been largely replaced with greed and a craving for celebrity. American metal (mettle) used to mean something solid.