I produce work as an attempt to offset what I consume.
The ideas and inspirations come from the personal and my daily landscape. Through my work I look at and investigate common language, popular opinion and contemporary culture and concentrate on issues that target the body, be it physically or socially, such as gender, identity, desire and aging.
I believe my medium to be information. My method is to collect, synthesize and quantify facts and data visually and to arrange them in an ordered and structured form. In doing so, I attempt to reflect the everyday pursuit of creating order out of our many needs and desires. Through this artistic expression I expose my feelings and comments on life but also hope to better understand the instinctive aspects of being human and the conditioned beliefs of the collective subconscious.
Gay male pornography has served as a tool to define and validate a marginalized sexual identity and its projected narrative. However, in claiming it, I did not wish to simply reinforce the social construction of masculinity, youth and beauty. Instead, by using signifiers to represent tenants that embody desire and consumption, i hope to avoid the objectification inherent in representing the body. Conceptualizing pornography this way, denies any visual censorship while still maintaining its perversity. The statistics as a tiled-wall permit the subject matter to exist in a public space while representing a private obsession by being both covert and convivial through coded means. The use of tiles can be said to reference a bathroom, a room that can be seen as a site of anxiety and eroticism for gay men.
Each scheme consists of a certain number of ceramic tiles, each representing a porn star listed in alphabetical order by their name. The tiles are adhered and grouted onto plywood panels and positioned onto a wall via wooden railings allowing for easy installation and de-installing. The tiles are accompanied with an 8.5" x 11" acrylic plaque with title and color key/legend. The size and configuration of the tiled-wall is variable and site specific.
In the series Color Block, I am interested in exploring the dialectic nature of photography between depth and flatness….in other words, looking at how rendering something that is three-dimensional changes when it is represented as something flat and 2-dimensional. A favorite childhood toy of building blocks, with its evidence of use and play, is photographed in a minimalistic and controlled environment. They are photographed using a large format camera onto 4X5" color film. The large format camera allows me to alter the lens and film planes separately and thereby help me create the illusion of a foreshortened perspective. In doing so, an object typically utilized in three-dimensional construction becomes a visual play of perception and scale.
language of color
This work is an investigation on the complexity of color with the understanding that it is the most subjective of all qualities. The most practical way to define color has usually been to either point at it or, at least in the case of paint, to refer to the seemingly arbitrary name paint manufacturers assign to their colors. In this series, I alphabetize and at times group all the paint colors of a specific manufacturer by their given name and arranged them as if it were a text paragraph (left-justified and with gaps demarcating the beginning of a new letter). In doing so, I play a conceptual game of chance with the tonal arrangement of the color spectrum while alluding to the shortcomings of language and the futility of labeling.
There are many permutations available with this series in regards to the paint manufacturer, color collections, shape and sizes of the color samples and alignment onto the paper which alter the final size.
An attempt to coorelate a bodily fluid with a portrait since both can be said to simply only reference a 'body.' Although urine serves as a universal and recognizable signifier for the body, a urine sample can be considered as individual and as specific as a portrait. It is used to study our state of well-being and investigate our intake. By using a bodily waste product as a portrait, I refer to it as an extension of an individual, yet hope to demonstrate the dichotomy between the body and the self. With urine, the self may be conscious of what it consumes but can not completely control what the body produces. In portraiture, the means can represent the person but it cannot replicate the entity. Finally, as is the case with a portrait, the method of display for these art work allow for visual analysis and scrutiny.
skintones* on studs (*according to cover girl)
This art piece is intended to be a literal execution of materials while the title itself serves as an ambiguous use of terms. The use of the word 'stud' and its affinity with both support and virility is associated with what is socially perceived as masculine, while 'skintones' in this case, refers to the tonal spectrum available in the cosmetic popularly referred to as 'foundation' make-up and commonly used in the fetishizing of femininity. Both mediums are signifiers to the 'foundation' of gender construction. The act of applying cosmetics onto the studs (covering them up) attempts to expose and neutralize their gender signifiers in the process.
people magazine's 50 most beautiful people
Fifty self-adhesive note pads are printed with closely cropped portraits of the celebrities considered 'most beautiful' in a certain year by People magazine. Standard 2"X3" bright yellow adhesive note pads, recognizable as a means to accentuate what is important and immediate, are adhered directly onto a wall and can be arranged in various ways, however, their order should be alphabetical using each person's last name. This is neither important nor evident in the viewing but simply a means to establish a neutral order to a biased list. Without the people's name, the viewer is then invited to remember or recognize the person depicted. In selecting an outdated list to execute the piece, I intend to not just emphasize our inability at times to retain such information but also to question its initial importance in our daily landscape. The notepads will eventually peel away from the wall and fall serendipitously. The piece’s ephemeral nature acknowledges both the fleeting nature of our fascination with celebrities and of beauty itself.
The series titled ‘analog’ depicts images of the now superseded look of transmission from analog televisions. Their serendipitous capture turns a fleeting static 'noise' into a distinctive and singular image that is representative of a unique moment in time. The image’s representation is simultaneously photographic and painterly while denoting its loss in our current realm of digital proliferation.
Not unlike milk, traditional photographic supplies have an expiration date. The ‘imageless’ photographs in this series are expired color photo paper that has been developed without being exposed to light. What we are left with is a reminder of a missed opportunity, yet what could have once been used to duplicate an image exactly and repeatedly without end becomes a unique and original image that can not be replicated.
A series of appropriated images from gay male pornographic movies. Along with photographically extracting the uninhabited ‘spaces’ (or sets) from these movies I hope to preserve the pornographic genre by denying visual censorship. These otherwise 'empty' spaces not only become charged and loaded once their source is revealed but also question the gender neutrality and construct of an empty space. The absence of the body and the knowledge of the image source leaves the viewer to ‘imagine’ what is not ‘imaged.’
© 2015 lazaro montano