The New American Legacy
May 2 – May 13, 2014
Highsmith Art and Intercultural Gallery,
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Opening Reception: Friday, May 2, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Free and Open to the Public
Several pieces of Scott Steere's BA Senior Exhibition portfolio, The New American Legacy, are included in the BA Senior Salon Exhibition along with seven other candidates whose portfolios are the culmination of their work toward bachelor of arts degrees in art.
Scott Steere's Artist Statement: "What is the American Legacy? Following the formation of our nation, one might have said that the American Legacy is Democracy, Liberty, and Freedom for all men. We were the great experiment. Following WWII, one might have said that the American Legacy is Justice and Peace. We were a force for good, a just and strong nation that stood in opposition to tyranny, fascism, and oppression. This is American history, part of our collective past. But what gifts are we as a nation currently bestowing upon our new generations and the world at large?
The New American Legacy, a series of screen-prints and gunpowder prints, gives form to a vision of a new contemporary American heritage. This new legacy, built on violence and oppression, stands in dark contrast to previous incarnations of American values, which represent America as a bastion of Freedom, Liberty, and Democracy. In the opinion of the artist, The New American Legacy is characterized by perpetual war, overconsumption, faux democracy, and loss of liberty manifested in the prison-industrial complex. The New American Legacy depicts the artist’s interpretation of the gift we are bequeathing to future generations of Americans and the world at large. This is done in the hope that viewers will begin to question the accepted construct of America as a force for good and a symbol of liberty and freedom, and start to see the hypocrisy and oppression that exists within our national identity. Moreover, the artist is attempting to not just appeal to the current zeitgeist of cynicism, but to also spur viewers on to genuine thought and action.
For my work I draw inspiration from the Pop Art screen prints of Andy Warhol, the flag paintings of Jasper Johns, propaganda posters of WWII and the 1930s and 1940s screen prints of The Works Progress Administration. I am also influenced by the gunpowder printing methods of Chinese performance artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Several of the themes incorporated into my show are discussed in the Humanities core at UNC Asheville.
For example, the piece titled If Justice is Blind Then Why Does She Still See Color? was born from readings about racial inequality in the prison system and the documentary Slavery By Another Name, to which I was exposed in Hum 414."