We cannot deny the influence of Hollywood films on popular culture. These are continually referenced both in parody and in the imagery that surrounds us. Films that are deemed as classics when first viewed alter in the public imagination when the images and ideas that produced them are interrogated often creating a strong response. To date my work has explored themes from films such as A Clockwork Orange (Stanley Kubrick, 1971), It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) (Frank Capra) and The Great Escape (1963)(John Sturges). I am interested in the work of artists whose work uses construction to consider social and political themes including Thomas Demand, David Levinthal and James Casebere. My ideas begin through rough ‘photographic sketches’ to investigate the ways in which cinema communicates both visually and theoretically. I produce works ranging from imperfectly crafted cardboard models to films and photography.
Professor Neil Campbell of American Studies explains that the decline of the genre came about with an increasingly sophisticated audience wanting more than a hero coming into town and gunning down the villains to only leave at the end. Films of the time were competing with real images of the Vietnam War and of the Civil Rights movement.
My work currently reflects on the classic western genre of film and its decline to locate its contemporary position. Westerns and other genres of film inform my project and also determine its aesthetic offering a well-known set of visual codes that are applied as reference points to enable the audience to engage with the work. Also responding to the internal feuding of those within the industry. A garden-shed aesthetic informs the construction of the work. The ‘hands-on’ approach allows me to be immersed in the pieces from start to finish. The Neo-Western genre was pioneered by Sam Peckinpah and Arthur Penn to redress the ‘all-American’ genre for the changing audience. These works discussed contemporary issues in the guise of the western complete with the familiar language of a western.