A multimedia collaboration between Nathan Sawaya (Sculptor) and Dean West (Photographer)
The project features a series of tableau compositions based on ideas about nature, culture and identity construction. Identity as a cultural creation has been heavily manipulated and commercialized, and this is prominently portrayed in this highly stylized representation of contemporary life.
The images have been constructed by combining West’s modern photography techniques and Sawaya’s unique sculptures made out of LEGO®. Key to the series narrative and aesthetic Sawaya’s sculptures are much like the construction of a digital photograph. Thousands of bricks are glued together to form recognizable objects much like the assembly of pixels in a digital image. The similarities in technology not only help shape the aesthetic of IN PIECES, they are key to deconstructing each tableau composition.
In an awkward moment of self-awareness, the subjects appear frozen. An acknowledgment of their cultural arena is suffocating. Individuals stand in recognizable but chillingly empty minimalist scenes derived from common features of the American landscape. Their averted eyes gaze into nothingness, and a strange feeling of aloofness and displacement reverberates. The careful positioning of the human figures, the subtle interactions and this special attention to geometrical design, echoes the influence of a cinematic 'Hopper' painting.
Using mostly frontal style imagery of the North American landscape, the simple unvarnished vernacular locations, reference the American Picture Postcard. Pastel blues, greens and yellows wash across the photographs as if, they themselves, had also been hand colored lithograph. The imagery from a distance, appears entirely photographic, however as the viewer begins to digest the imagery, each work reveals the brick by brick fabricated construction.