I am interested in cultural idioms, symbols, and interactions, and the mythologies that they create. To this purpose, in my work I employ personal memories in the form of images, family history, and interpersonal dialog from my years growing up in the deep rural South to highlight the common interpretations and constructs of the culture to which I was exposed. While I exploit these images and ideas to my own subversive ends, I also admit to giving them the reverence and sentimentality that they deserve and command. This “love and loathe” relationship I personally feel with the images and ideas I use allows me to confront what I observe as a common contemporary sentiment...one that allows us to be simultaneously sincere and cynical about a given cultural position.
To accomplish these ideas in my work, I integrate various signs and symbols, and create a sense of artificially enhanced drama along with representations of cultural and personal images in the form of paintings, silhouetted constructions, and found objects, all of which further this process of immersion. When viewing the work, tenuous and vague stories begin to take shape, and a sort of personal mythology emerges. Along with this, greater narratives also emerge...ones of the sentimental versus the sharply witty, the worldly contrasted with the naive, and the quiet battles between cultural tastes and sensibilities.
With my latest body of work, I am re-imagining a common trope, my adoptive brother, as servant to the gods. He faithfully, unquestionably, and savant-like serves his personal goddess, Demeter and bears her fruits. His mythical tools are trucks and tractors and CB radios. Every thought is to the same end...the crop. This faithful servant’s seemingly eternal quixotry will ultimately lead to his demise at the vengeful hand of Zeus after one blissful night with his only real lover, Demeter. But for a time, we are privy to a day in his life, longing for Demeter’s praise, and presiding over the land which bears her offerings. --Jim Burton