The collaborative practice of Mary and Stephan

Family Portrait

With so much news about foreclosures, unemployment, recession, and debt reduction, the “American” way of life is being redefined and re-examined. And that examination is happening no more closely then to the iconic American family. Ideals of class and wealth have been replaced with a language of loss.  From banner carrying protestors to cable news pundents, dialogues amass on culpability. Things are not the way they used to be?  The effect on society as well as personal family dynamics is profound. Who is the “American” family anymore?

 Family Portrait is a 4-channel video installation createing “living portraits” of themselves and their two children. Each member of their family: Father, Mother, Daughter and Son have a video where they are engaging individually in an action. These actions are given an unexpected twist of surrealism such as the daughter getting sucked up by stuffed animals, the son smashing a stack of plates, the mother walling herself into her closet with bricks and feathers and the father standing idle with a garden hose while the barbeque grill ignites.

Amid the 4 suspended screens is a mass of used consumer products filling the space. Big Wheels, lawn furniture, old books, weed wacker, toys, clothes, and the list goes on in what we hoard and hold onto in our mountain of stuff.  We pile it up in our closets, storage containers and garages. 

 

Four Channel Video Installation, High Definition Video, Vertical 16:9, 8 foot screens, trt varied, 2012