Laguna Art Museum presented a collection of works by contemporary artists who mimic reality with a playful twist, in the process raising questions of authenticity and duplication. Often using off-beat materials, and showing a sly sense of humor, they took as their subject-matter items that anyone might pass over without a second thought, such as food, furniture, or domestic knick-knacks. By turning the ordinary into art, they got us to think about how things are made, what they are made from, and how we see them in our everyday experience.
Many of the works in Faux Real were about the pleasures of trompe l’oeil, the creation of an eye-deceiving illusion—the delicate ceramic works of Richard Shaw, for instance, or the sculptures of Matthias Merkel Hess and Lauren DiCioccio. Each artist, in his or her own way, offered a rich, textured challenge to us to question our visual surroundings. Kim MacConnel’s reconstruction of a living room extended the tradition of the interior genre painting, allowing us to move into the space.
While generally humorous in tone, the exhibition also included works that, at some level, offer a critique of American culture and consumerism. The clay food sculptures of Julie Bozzi asked us to consider “American types” of food, presenting what could be Cold War-era, Sunset magazine images as a cabinet of curiosities.
In addition to those mentioned above, the exhibition included the following artists: Michael Arcega, Sandow Birk, Libby Black, Amy Caterina, Daniel Douke, Ala Ebtekar, Cheryl Ekstrom, David Gilhooly, Jean Lowe, Gifford Myers, Kaz Oshiro, Elyse Pignolet, Walter Robinson, and Stephanie Syjuco.
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