eyewash@Figureworks will present “Wishing Well,” new works by Edward Monovich. The “wish” sequence is a commonly used fairytale device that demarcates the protagonist’s hope for change. Monovich’s works draw an analogy between America’s desire to simplify and glamorize conflict and the narrative wish.
Soldiers in these works carry standard issue assault rifles and wear contemporary fatigues; they are fully equipped to participate in today’s campaigns. Though uniforms and surroundings seem to conjure a foreign battlefield, works investigate domestic concerns. They infiltrate issues and agendas that reach the public in stealthy ways, via advertising icons, cuddly storybook characters and archetypal heroes. On the internet, at newsstands and grocery stores, Winnie-the-Pooh, Strawberry shortcake and G.I. Joe gently nudge these agendas against children’s taste buds. They are the proverbial “spoonful of sugar.” Value systems are bought and sold along with product; narrative fabric is torn and restitched. Poetry, plot and process bend to the whims of marketability. Monovich’s versions of popular characters reclaim their content and context, as they suit-up for war, they become insurgents; hidden meanings are revealed and subverted.
In the works, pixilated landscapes act as containers for seemingly disparate elements. Patterning is based on modern digital camouflage taken from military uniforms. Pixilation also alludes to psychological and geographical dislocation experienced while “virtual” images are viewed through mass-media filters. Suburban landscapes are reinterpreted from idyllic representations in advertising and children’s stories, which seek to homogenize notions of home. By conflating pastoral images of suburbia with scenes of war, drawings interrogate systems that determine wealth and privilege, while unmasking implications of economic “success” in geopolitical human rights abuses.