Heavy Metal Series, 2019
Gold. Human history is decorated with innumerable artworks made from this precious material. Its opulence; its rarity; its luster has captured our attention for millenia, striking envy and greed into the hearts of men. These gilded masterpieces have become synonymous with wealth, affluence and influence. But for whom are these works created? And who puts this material in our hands?
Asphalt. A commonplace, gritty material. A tool of the working class. The people who build the greatest testaments to human industry and ingenuity are most often the ones who find themselves living a life of utility, not one of opulence. Those who reap the benefits of labor are those who rarely, if ever, find themselves in contact with the raw, crude, semisolid sludge of petroleum that is asphalt.
When and how do these two materials meet?
In my series Heavy Metal, through the unification of emblematic substances, I find a common ground between the two tiers of our class system that are increasingly isolated from one another. In combining asphalt (symbolic of the struggling working class) and gold leaf (symbolic of the aristocracy and their bombastic wealth), I have found a way to bridge the divide between those that benefit from capitalism and those that capitalism exploits.
In this most unlikely union, we see both the beauty of contrast and the necessary act of rebellion that rejects the imposed and inherited expectations.