While browsing through the available episodes of Art 21, I chose the episode called “Secrets” from season 7. This episode followed the artists Elliot Hundley, Arlene Shechet and Trevor Paglen. Though each artist worked with different mediums all of them explored “secrets” in their own way. Their art plunges through surface level glances and forces the viewer to actually think about what they are seeing and what is happening in the world around them.
Elliot Hundley’s work mainly consisted of using found objects in intricate and detailed collages. He collects old envelopes, scraps from different paintings and even stray pins to make a piece of art. One of his works could have been created by a thousand other images and works. His work largely consists of collages and he states that, “collages have become one of the most relevant forms of art making. The quantity of images that are in our lives intrinsically it is a world the reflects our reality.” For example, for one of his exhibitions featured in the episode he started his painting with a canvas that already had an image on it. He then added a layer of new paint, collage and found materials, and then an image that was made on foam and then carved into the canvas, and lastly embroidered. An example of this type of work is his piece, I’ll Get You, 2013. Sound board, wood, inkjet print on kitakata, paper, string, pins, gouache, found taxidermy pheasants, metal, electroformed parabolic reflector, plastic, wire. 78 x 60 3/8 x 13 1/8 inches. (198.1 x 153.4 x 33.3 cm)
Arlene Shechet works with clay and makes obscure but visually interesting sculptures. Her love for sculpture stems from her desire to know where and how things are made. Her work does not represent an obvious idea or concept but is meant to make the viewer wonder what she created. She states, “I don’t want to make pieces that can be described too easily”.
Trevor Paglen explored the “secrets” of the government of the United States by studying the different satellites and surveillance equipment by our country. In this episode, his recreation of a non-functioning satellite and several abstract photographs of tiny drones were featured. Each photo would have a beautiful photo of the sky with a teeny tiny speck that was a drone flying through the air. An example of his work is, Untitled (Reaper Drone)
C-Print, 48 x60 inches, 2010. His purpose is to bring to light the things that are happening in our world yet is so secretive and not typically discussed among society.
I liked that each artist thought outside of the norm and the expected and that their work didn’t convey an obvious idea or message. I think it’s important to have art that makes us think about why things are the way they are.