Brian Carey
consumer culture

RESIDENCY / Jan – Feb, 2016
EXHIBITION / Mar – April, 2016

Makeshift is pleased to present Consumer Culture, a stereoscopic drawing by Brian Carey. Created during his studio residency, the drawing, complete with 3D glasses, derives from an unexpected yet formative encounter with Split Ring, a large minimalist sculpture currently stationed in the Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, MI. As part of an ongoing critique of our economic system’s pervasive influence on our individual and collective identity, Brian depicts the interior public sculpture as it exists today, surrounded by retail stores and standard mall décor. Translated from a series of digitally manipulated photographs, the drawing itself is indistinct and difficult to decipher. When viewed with 3D glasses, the separated lines and colors merge, creating the illusion of volume and depth, thus reinforcing a concept that Brian suggests, “…relies on superficiality.” 

In Consumer Culture, the monumental permanence of the steel sculpture stands in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of planned obsolescence. In a setting that encourages impulsive consumption over thoughtful meditation, their contradictory natures seem to call attention to one another. Brian’s decision to augment our visual experience demands that we look differently, perhaps more critically, in order to bring these implications into focus. A surprising, yet practical comparison can be made to John Carpenter’s cult classic, They Live. The 1988 film depicts a man that stumbles upon a pair of sunglasses that enable him to see oppressive alien propaganda that subliminally populates billboards, newspapers, and politics. It’s a deceptively simple device that, like Consumer Culture, delivers a subversive message within an entertaining premise. Despite their wildly different sensibilities, they both ask something simple – that when the glasses come off, we don’t forget what we’ve seen.